#MyMaskMyStory: “Right now is a very challenging time for the police”

National Headquarters  | September 28, 2020

Part of our Together While Apart campaign, #MyMaskMyStory is a collection of personal accounts from individuals with deep ties to the COVID-19 pandemic. These include those who have volunteered, those who have donated, and those who have received.

Edited by Dilber Shatursun

“It’s a very challenging time right now. We know that a lot of families are suffering and people are suffering, and we want to do our part in helping people feel safe.”

“[The pandemic] changed police operations in several areas. For example, we had to work with a tighter budget because business has slowed down, tax revenue has slowed down; so we’ve had to do more with less. Secondly, there are people that sometimes don’t comply with the voluntary order, and people will call the police to complain ‘oh, they’re not complying with this order,’ so we’re going to ask ‘please comply with the orders given by the Governor and by county health officials.’ We will be out there reminding people to social distance and wear their mask. At this time, we really encourage people to take the warnings seriously.”

“In the beginning, [supplies were] limited. It was difficult to find hand sanitizers, bleach. It was difficult to find masks. But, with donations like this [from Tzu Chi USA] – one – we have an abundant supply and we can protect our first responders, our police officers, and also protect the community. Additionally, with these donations, we don’t have to spend money now on purchasing this and we could use it to focus resources somewhere else, so it really helps in multiple ways.”

“We will give out the PPEs to the individual officers, plus we leave several out here that they can grab as they go. We will also donate masks to people on the street who aren’t wearing masks. We’ll ask them to please comply and provide them a mask. Sometimes we’ll provide them to the homeless so that they have the ability to protect themselves and protect others.”

“Right now is a very challenging time for the police because of political issues that are occurring in this country – plus the pandemic. A lot of police officers are feeling stress from multiple sides. So we love the fact that good people like yourselves come and support the police. Sometimes police officers feel that they don’t have a lot of support. They go out every day, and they’ll do their job, and they’re committed to helping others, and it seems that there are people in the community that remain quiet but support us. So we appreciate those individuals who come, who tell us, ‘hey, we care about you, we like you, we’re here for you,’ because the police are here to serve, and it’s nice to know that the community supports us in efforts like this.”

“Thank you very much for all that you do, because this is a collaborative effort. We work together to help deal with the COVID issue and also develop positive relationships. That’s what the San Gabriel Police Department is about. We want relationships with the community, and this is how we do it – so thank you.”

Fabian Valdez is Captain of the San Gabriel Police Department in San Gabriel, CA. On behalf of the San Gabriel PD, he received multiple donations of PPE and Jing Si instant foods like rice and noodles from Tzu Chi volunteers. Discover the full #MyMaskMyStory collection here, and help us do more to support first responders in our Together While Apart fundraiser.

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