Sheriff Says Dept. Is Working To Protect Deputies From Ebola Exposure

DALLAS COUNTY, TX – Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez says she’s thankful after Dallas County Sheriff’s Sgt. Mike Monnig tested negative for Ebola Thursday, and says she’s confident that the department is taking every precaution to protect her deputies from exposure.

Valdez says her department knew early on about Monnig’s symptoms, and they were in communication with him most of the day Wednesday.

She says at a certain point, they put him in direct contact with the county’s physician to guide him in doing what he felt was necessary.

Sheriff Valdez expressed that even with knowledge that his exposure had been extremely minimal, she watched with great concern as the ambulance Wednesday transported Monnig from the local Frisco CareNow center to the hospital.

Thursday, she said that the department has been in close communication with each of the five deputies who entered the apartment where Ebola patient Thomas Duncan, who died Wednesday, had been staying.

All of them, including Monnig, were given the option to return to work or stay home until they developed a level of comfort about their personal health.

“They were given the opportunity to stay out, but like good officers, they said they’re going to see that it gets finished,” said Valdez.

But Chris Dyer of the Dallas County Sheriff’s Association says the CDC and federal agents should be handling Ebola medical related incidents; not deputies.

“My positon on this has been, from the very beginning, this is not a law enforcement situation,” said Dyer. “This should have been the federal government coming in. They have the resources, and they have the expertise to deal with it. We shouldn’t have sent in deputy sheriffs to take care of this.”

Sheriff Valdez says the department is providing educational resources about Ebola for all of its deputies and staff around the clock.

She says the officers are equipped with safety kits, including gloves and boot covers, and soon, every deputy patrol car will be outfitted with protective suits as well.