Law enforcement, detention and security officers around the world are at risk of exposure to COVID-19 as they interact with the public in their work. Each agency should develop and follow its own policies and procedures for reducing the risk of exposure to COVID-19. However, due to the categorization of COVID-19 as a global pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO), and its increasing spread in communities throughout the Country, Axon Enterprise, Inc. (“Axon”) provides the following guidance for interactions with the public generally, as well as the use of TASER conducted energy weapons (“CEWs”).
COVID-19 is transmissible through respiratory droplets being transferred directly, or through contaminated objects and hands, to the mouth, nose or eyes of others. Current evidence suggests the virus may remain viable for hours to days on surfaces made from a variety of materials. The following guidelines may reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission:
- Frequent hand washing and sanitization, and avoid touching face. Wash hands often, with soap and running water, for at least 20 seconds, especially after close (within 6 feet) or direct contact with a member of the public. If washing is unavailable, use hand sanitizer or sanitation wipes, ensuring that the sanitizing product covers all areas of the hands and nails. Avoid touching your face.
- Wear gloves and eye protection. Wear gloves and eye protection when close or direct contact with a member of the public is likely.
- Avoid or minimize close contact. When possible, conduct interactions with others from a reasonable distance and in a well-ventilated area. Minimize the potential number of personnel that could be exposed to an infected person (e.g., send 1 or 2 officers to evaluate the situation instead of 5 or 6).
- Clean and disinfect before every shift. Clean and disinfect equipment and frequently touched surfaces before every shift. This includes squad cars, radios, computers, equipment, etc. For information on how to disinfect or decontaminate Axon products, see Training Bulletin 21.0-08 released on March 19, 2020.
- CEW reminders.
- TASER CEWs may be deployed from a distance of 7 feet or greater.
- Use the 5-second cycle as your window of opportunity to cuff under power. Wear gloves and eye protection when doing so.
- Probes that have penetrated the body should be treated as contaminated needles (biohazard), regardless of whether the person is suspected of being infected with COVID-19 or not. Follow all agency policies and procedures for handling biohazards.
- Request medical assistance in accordance with your agency policies and procedures.