As the city of Huntsville continues to combat the spread of the coronavirus, the city council is working to make sure that the police and fire departments have the personal protective equipment (PPE) they need.
During Thursday's city council meeting, the council approved a resolution that provides emergency supplemental funds for equipment and supplies to keep them safe from contracting the coronavirus.
Huntsville Police Chief Mark McMurray said, like many groups, early on in the pandemic, they were working to secure enough masks for officers.
"It caught us a little off guard, just to be honest. Our friends at the fire department and HEMSI, Huntsville Hospital all came through for us and gave us enough PPE to get us through the first few weeks and now we have it rolling in and we've stabilized it quite a bit," said McMurray.
Lt. Michael Johnson said that so far, the police department purchases about 600 masks, but thanks to community donatations, they have about 2,000 masks for their officers.
The Madison County Sheriff's Office said they also have a good supply of masks and hand sanitizer for their officers. Investigator Brent Patterson said applying PPE has become a new normal for them and they are working keep both their deputies and members of the public safe.
He said part of that includes disallowing in-person visitation at the Madison County Jail.
"If cutting off visitation is something that we have to do right now, it's what we're doing and we're not going to be in a hurry to implement it right back into the system until we know what the future holds for this coronavirus," said Patterson.
McMurray said now is the time for all law enforcement departments to create a stockpile to prepare for whatever they may encounter in the future.
"All first responders need to prepare some type of stockpile for this because we're on the front line," said McMurray.
Thursday's resolution covered $421,268 in PPE costs.