Assemblyman Chris Tague (R,C,I,Ref-Schoharie) is taking a stand for correction officers during the COVID-19 pandemic by requesting rules be relaxed for guards to allow them to use protective equipment on the job. Tague does not want to expose our prison personnel to unnecessary risk when they already do such difficult, dangerous and important work.
This crisis affects us all, and for many of us it makes it more dangerous to perform our daily job duties. Correction officers are unsung heroes in our communities, putting their lives on the line every day to protect us from the most dangerous members of our society. Currently, correction officers are not allowed to wear facial coverings to protect themselves from infection when being forced into close proximity with inmates, creating a real risk for officers trying to do their jobs to keep us safe. 56 members of personnel have already tested positive for the virus, including the president of the New York Correctional Officers and Police Benevolent Association, Michael Powers, with hundreds of others in isolation awaiting testing. It would be a shame to see the well-being of these officers jeopardized during this pandemic, so a change in the rules really should be examined that at the very least allows correction officers to use their own face masks to be protected against COVID-19.