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Las Cruces police officer tests positive for virus, chief calls it ‘of great concern’

lcpd-squad-car
KVIA file
A Las Cruces police squad car sits parked in a city neighborhood.

LAS CRUCES, New Mexico -- The first case of a Las Cruces Police Department officer testing positive for Covid-19 has occurred, the police chief said Monday.

"That's of great concern to us," admitted LCPD Chief Patrick Gallagher. "We've done a lot to limit officers' exposure to the public."

Gallagher made the announcement at a Las Cruces City Council meeting on Monday afternoon. He said the officer's test results came back over the weekend.

"We know there's a risk in our job," said Chief Gallagher. "If we lose enough officers to the virus or quarantine or isolation as a result of the exposure, we won't have enough officers on the street to prevent crime."

The chief's comments came as he urged councilors not to pass an emergency ordinance that would require face masks throughout the city of Las Cruces. He said his department already has 20 vacancies.

"Expecting to enforce this with any vigor would further expose officers to possibly contracting the virus," Chief Gallagher added.

Coronavirus / Health / News / Top Stories

Kate Bieri

Kate Bieri is ABC-7’s New Mexico Mobile Newsroom reporter and co-anchors ABC-7’s weekend evening newscasts.

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