SALT LAKE CITY — Five Salt Lake City police officers are off duty, possibly for up to two weeks, after a DUI suspect coughed and spat on them, then alluded to the possibility he may have COVID-19.
It started with an alarming DUI stop over the weekend.
Investigators say a teenager allegedly stole his girlfriend's car with a baby inside then crashed that vehicle.
The child was fine, but while awaiting a blood draw warrant for the suspect to determine his level of possible impairment, officers say the young man actively resisted arrest, coughing on them and spitting on them.
He then allegedly made comments about the coronavirus so officers then had to get a second blood draw warrant to try and see if he actually had COVID-19.
A blood test is unreliable and takes a while to come back, so now, several officers are on quarantine and may have to stay off duty for up to two weeks.
Officers are hoping the rules can be changed so they can take a more immediate, nasopharyngeal swab of any suspect who claims to have COVID-19 .
"So that's taking officers out of the field, that's taking more of our resources away," said Sgt. Keith Horrocks with the Salt Lake City Police Department. "And if we were able to test with a nasopharyngeal swab we could could have those results more immediately and if that test were to come back negative we could put those officers right back into the field and they could continue to work."
It's uncharted territory for everyone involved but police are hoping to get some more clarification from lawmakers as quickly as possible.
Meanwhile those five Salt Lake officers will remain off duty until either the blood drug test comes back from the suspect with conclusive results or two weeks pass.