“We are concerned that we could get lost in the shuffle, ”he said Bill Johnson, executive director of the National Association for Police Organizations. “We are grateful to men and women in healthcare and recognize that they also need protection, but we also need the same protection.”
First aid groups said they hadn’t heard of their request to meet the president to discuss the problem. A White House spokesman said state officials should be responsible for helping rescue workers obtain protective equipment.
Leaders from the National Sheriffs Association, the International Fire Chiefs Association, the Major Cities Chiefs Association, and six other groups wrote directly to the President last week asking him to use the Defense Production Law to secure masks and gloves. They also pleaded in discussions with White House employees and officials from the Justice and Homeland Security departments.
“We are still pushing the White House to improve coordination not only with the states, but also with the local government, especially county hospitals and sheriffs,” said Matt Chase, executive director of the National Association of Counties, who also signed the letter . We really need to use the federal government’s purchasing power and logistical support to help us. “
The lack of an answer tests the traditionally friendly relationship between Trump and law enforcement agencies.
“We are a little surprised that apparently nothing is being done to assist first responders,” said a law enforcement officer who was involved in talks with the White House. “We don’t get the information I think we deserve and that we expect the administration to have.”
The White House said state officials have the power to delegate who receives equipment that is given to the states.
“Every level of government has to deliver solutions, and that’s exactly what we’re doing in partnership,” said a White House spokesman.
According to FEMA, the government has already delivered 11.6 million N-95 respirators, 26 million surgical masks, and 5.2 million face shields to states from the federal government’s reserve supply of medical supplies.
In addition, the Trump administration approved the first system to sterilize special face masks worn by health workers – an emergency approval that could help address the serious lack of protective equipment.
The system can decontaminate up to 80,000 medical masks per day and is used at coronavirus hotspots such as New York and Washington State. Battelle plans to deliver four more machines in the United States next week and another 15 machines in the coming weeks.