MAYSVILLE, Okla. (KFOR) – It’s a red-alert request of sorts for the town of 1,200 on the Garvin and McClain County line.
The Maysville Police Department is working to implement a voluntary red and green card system to let first responders know if someone has COVID-19 symptoms.
Police Chief Matthew Perry is asking people to put a red card on their door if they are showing symptoms when first responders are coming to their home. Community members are asked to put a green card on their door if they’re not showing symptoms.
“We’re asking the citizens of the town to help us out, that way we can keep all of our first responders safe,” Perry said.
The suggestion came Tuesday on the Maysville police Facebook page. Chief Perry hopes it will allow first responders to know what they’re dealing with on a call.
“So that we know how to properly prepare before entering the residence,” he said.
Hours after posting, the comments were rife with criticism. Residents said they were in fear of privacy violations. The chief clarified the request on Wednesday.
“This is not a mandatory thing; this is a voluntary basis thing. We’re not trying to infringe on anyone’s rights,” Perry said.
Voluntary or not, some residents are still disagreeing. Maggie Leblanc, a retired nurse, stated her worries in a Facebook message to News 4.
“This is only targeting the sick, they will be bullied,” she said.
Leblanc added a comment on first responders training during this pandemic, saying they are “trained for this, maybe even over trained.”
Others agree with the move.
“I would use it, and I would recommend people that listen to me to use it,” said Ricky Page.
According to Page, he’s seen first-hand how this would help. His mother-in-law died recently and everyone feared it was COVID-19 causing the death.
“We got to her home, couldn’t retrieve her because of uncertainty of how she passed,” he said.
Dispatchers already ask questions to see what symptoms someone may have. However, Perry said they can ride up on issues without being dispatched to one.
“We’re still more than likely going to put our PPE gear on,” he said.
He said they are dispatched to calls, more than randomly finding issues, but reserve officers have to go without the personal protective equipment either way.
“There is not enough PPE in the department right now,” he said.
Perry said he hopes that those participating in the new measure will keep those first responders safe and keep the virus at bay.
“As far as I know it, we have no cases in this town and we would like to keep it that way,” he said.
Between Garvin and McClain county, there are 26 total cases. Maysville sits on the line of those two counties. Chief Perry said half the town has come to pick up the cards so far.