Cops take on dirty job so medical workers can leave the coronavirus behind
“Medical personnel were there for us on 9/11 and we want to be there for them today,” said Officer Eric Brozek
By Larry Higgs
NJ Advance Media Group, Edison, N.J.
HACKENSACK, NJ — When Port Authority police officers asked how they could help doctors, nurses and paramedics on the front lines of the coronavirus fight, they might not have expected to become a cleaning crew.
But this is a dirty job being done with love.
On Friday, off-duty Port Authority police officers spent the gray day decontaminating ambulances, paramedics’ trucks and even the boots and pants of emergency medical service workers after they delivered patients to Hackensack Hospital.
“Medical personnel were there for us on 9-11 (at the World Trade Center) and we want to be there for them today,” said Officer Eric Brozek, who works at the Holland Tunnel police command.
The job is important to make sure the COVID-19 virus goes no further. Officers use spray equipment to decontaminate ambulance interiors, and outside door handles, while EMS crews are in the hospital. They treated stretchers when they returned, Brozek said.
Officers are also offering to decontaminate employee shuttle buses and doctors’ and nurses’ personal vehicles, so they don’t have to worry about taking coronavirus home to their families, he said.
“We will do whatever it takes to help the medical professionals courageously battling COVID-19 on the front lines,” said Paul Nunziato, President, Port Authority Police Benevolent Association. “They are saving lives. They have never let us down. It is our duty, desire and citizenship to come to their aid.”
Port Authority police are about to get some back-up from Bergen County Sheriff’s Officers, who plan to decontaminate medical workers’ cars Saturday morning as they leave from working the third shift or arrive for the morning shift, said Derek Sands, a Sheriff’s Office spokesman.
“We decided this was a way to give back to the medical community. They have families and they don’t want to bring the virus home with them,” he said. “This is our thank you.”
Starbucks teamed up with the officers to provide coffee for the medical workers to drink while their vehicles are being decontaminated.
If it works out, Sheriff’s officers plan to expand the effort to other Bergen County hospitals, he said.
©2020 NJ Advance Media Group, Edison, N.J.