Chicago Police Department urges officers to wear face coverings

The department has recorded 1,222 confirmed COVID-19 cases among its 13,000 employees. Three officers died of the virus in April.

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A Chicago police car.

Chicago police officers have faced criticism in recent months for not wearing masks in public.

Sun-Times file photo

The Chicago Police Department has launched an internal campaign to encourage officers to wear face coverings as the area grapples with a surge in coronavirus cases,

Dubbed “I Wear My Mask,” the internal public safety announcement features officers of varying ranks explaining why they choose to cover their mouth and nose while on duty.

“For my family,” says one lieutenant. “For our son,” add a husband-and-wife sergeant and officer. “For my dad,” a patrol officer explains. “For my partner,” two officers say while sitting in a squad car.

“It is important you protect yourself, your loved ones and our city,” CPD Supt. David Brown says. “I mask up to protect you.”

As of Monday morning, the CPD had recorded 1,222 confirmed COVID-19 cases within the department, which employs more than 13,000 people. Of those who tested positive, more than 1,100 have returned to work.

Three officers —Sgt. Cliff Martin and officers Marco DiFranco and Ronald Newman — died of the virus in April.

Last week, Illinois recorded its 10,000th coronavirus-related death. Nearly a half million residents across the state have tested positive.

As the department grapples with a year of protests, looting and entrenched gun violence that shows little sign of abating, CPD officers have faced criticism in recent months for not wearing masks in public.

Public health experts and organizations, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, have repeatedly stressed how wearing a mask can help curb the transmission of COVID-19.

“Masks slow the spread of COVID-19 because they help keep people who are infected from spreading respiratory droplets to others when they cough, sneeze, or talk,” according to the CDC.

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