National Police Foundation launches real-time situational awareness tool for law enforcement to track COVID-19 officer exposures and PPE impacts

MARCH 25, 2020—In response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and its impact on law enforcement and other first responders, the National Police Foundation (NPF), in collaboration with the National Alliance for Public Safety GIS (NAPSG) Foundation and Esri, has developed a real-time COVID-19 situational awareness tool for law enforcement agencies. The tool, featuring a real-time dashboard, provides critical insights for executives, commanders, administrators and other decision-makers to better assess and monitor the impact of COVID-19 on our nation’s first responders, including officer exposures, diagnoses, workforce impacts, and personal protective equipment (PPE) needs and projections.

The interactive tool allows agencies to provide confidential, real-time updates that are instantly incorporated into the national dashboard and map. The dashboard identifies the number of officers exposed, officially tested with a positive diagnosis, placed in off-duty status due to exposure, and that are self-isolating due to symptoms or off-duty exposure. The dashboard also estimates the availability of necessary PPE, the most critical PPE that agencies are lacking, and current and projected shortages of PPE. The data is then aggregated and mapped at the state-level in order to show impacts across the country. Individual agencies will not be identified. Law enforcement agencies can then compare impacts in their state with those of other states.

Screenshot of the National Police Foundation’s COVID-19 Law Enforcement Impact Real-Time Surveillance Dashboard. (Photo by: National Police Foundation)

Law enforcement executives and their incident command teams (or those responsible for overseeing the COVID-19 response within their agencies), are encouraged to participate by submitting data via the National Police Foundation’s COVID-19 law enforcement resource page: https://www.policefoundation.org/covid-19/. It takes approximately 5 minutes to provide the update and an ORI9 identifier is required for each submission along with other validation features. The NPF is asking respondents to provide updates at least weekly, on the same day and time each week (as possible), in order to track progress throughout the event and impacts on law enforcement over time.

Based on the first dozen responding agencies, the data has allowed the National Police Foundation to observe the following trends, which are expected to change as more agencies report:

  • Agencies ranged from 20 to 2,000 sworn officers and spanned from West to East coast. A total of 7,853 officers were represented with 268 total exposures reported as of March 25, 2020.
  • Most commonly needed PPE by these agencies are respirators and gowns.
  • Agencies are experiencing varied degrees of workforce impacts, from 0 to as much as 10% of officers unable to work due to agency-identified possible or confirmed exposures or discretionary isolation due to symptoms or personal exposure.
  • Smaller to medium-size agencies reported more significant PPE shortages and have the largest share of officers unequipped with PPE, from 21-100% of officer unequipped compared to 10% or less for larger agencies.
  • Some agencies in common regions reported critical needs and sufficient supply for different PPE items, suggesting the potential for a resource sharing approach to mitigate PPE shortages.

According to the President of the National Police Foundation, Jim Burch,

As we made initial outreach to agencies on COVID-19 in late February, we realized that there was limited information available and executives were seeking information on early impacts in agencies elsewhere in the country. As the virus began to spread, we learned of more significant impacts from West Coast agencies, followed by others in hot spot locations. After talking with our partners and agency executives, we designed a tool that would allow agencies outside of or even far away from hot spots to begin to see the impacts they could soon face to help all agencies better prepare. Additionally, many wondered about PPE shortages and if they were consistent across all areas of the country. This tool provides agencies with a real-time view of how COVID-19 is impacting others and provides data that national and state planners and decision-makers can use to inform response plans and PPE needs assessments. For this reason, we encourage every law enforcement agency to participate so that the impacts on first responders can be known nationally.

To view the COVID-19 national law enforcement situational awareness dashboard, as well as a compilation of relevant resources and information for first responders regarding COVID-19, please visit: https://www.policefoundation.org/covid-19/.

For media inquiries, please contact media@policefoundation.org. For all other inquiries, please contact info@policefoundation.org.

About the National Police Foundation:

Established in 1970, the National Police Foundation (NPF) is a national, non-partisan, non-profit organization dedicated to advancing policing through innovation and science. For 50 years, the Foundation has conducted research on all aspects of policing and is leading the way in promoting and sharing evidence-based practices and innovation among law enforcement. The Foundation is currently working with hundreds of police agencies nationwide, as well as internationally, providing research and translation, training, technical assistance, and modern technology implementation. The Foundation is a leader in officer safety and wellness, community policing, investigations, and law-enforcement technology. For more information, please visit the National Police Foundation website at www.policefoundation.org.

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