Ridgeland sergeant sanitizes police cruiser not only to protect himself and arrestees, but his kids

Social Distancing? Not in a police car

RIDGELAND, Miss. (WLBT) - When you sit in a car that has arrestees in it all day, it’s hard to maintain social distancing. One Ridgeland officer recently walked us through some of what he does to try to stay healthy in spite of the coronavirus.

“And did you ever think when you signed up to serve and protect that you’d be protecting against an pandemic?” we asked Sgt. Jeff Thames.

“I didn’t but that’s what I signed up for and if that’s what it takes, that’s what I’m going to do,” he said.

Thames said he cleans out his car multiple times a day now with sanitizer and wipes, and he washes or sanitizes his hands even more than that. It has to be done that way during today’s coronavirus scare.

“But again they’re still within that 6 foot distance, so when you cough it comes out of the back seat or some kind of sneeze or something has the potential to contaminate all the way into the front seat,” said Ridgeland Police Chief John Neal.

Officers aren’t just worried about being contaminated, though. Thames says he’s constantly sanitizing his car for those who are being transported in it as well.

“We’re trying to protect everybody as much as we can. The shortage of the wipes and the Purell is hurting us right now, but we’re using every bit we’ve got and we use it on them, seatbelts, seats, anything anybody touches, we use it on,” Thames said.

Each day he chooses to be a police officer and he gets up to go to work not only to fight crime anymore – but to fight the coronavirus too. The goal is still the same, though. To get home at the end of the day.

“My routine is when I get off, get home, my wife sprays me down with the Clorox spray, I take off my uniform in the garage and put it in the washer," he said. "I have two babies at home who I’m not trying to pass this along to anybody… so it’s tough.”

Each Ridgeland officer is tasked with keeping his or her car sanitized until further notice, Chief Neal said.