Police union has spent $100K — and counting — on PPE for officers

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — There's backup on the way for Philadelphia police officers.

They’re getting much-needed protective gear from the Fraternal Order of Police.

Every day, officers come in contact with dozens of people, putting them at a higher risk of contracting coronavirus than others who do not have to deal with the public on a regular basis.

Over the last few weeks, FOP Lodge 5 Vice President Roosevelt Poplar said they've supplied officers with thousands of bottles of hand sanitizer, disinfectant for their cars, masks, and other equipment.

And it’s not cheap.

“I haven't kept track of total pricing. I know we're well over $100,000,” said Poplar. “It's going up every week. The hand sanitizer, that's tripled. The masks, they're tripled. The disinfectant — anything you try to get now because of what's around the world, the price has definitely tripled.”

But no matter the cost, Poplar said they will continue to help districts get the supplies they need.

“We have another 10,000 bottles ready to be distributed,” he added. 

FOP President John McNesby said they have another 25,000 masks and roughly 1,200 bottles of sanitizer for police cars.

“We want to make sure each district has a stockpile so that they can go back and use it over and over again,” he said.

McNesby noted they are talking with the city to coordinate more relief efforts.

A number of Philadelphia police officers have contracted coronavirus. Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw wouldn’t go into details, but she said last week it has affected less than 1% of the force.

At least one officer — Lt. James Walker, a 33-year veteran of the force — has died as a result of COVID-19.

“Part of our job is to keep them safe, and that's what we're trying to do to the best of our abilities,” Poplar added.