A group of individuals including Ross Bulla, Kathy Vinzant, Deanna Williams-McGinnis and Kelly Calderon organized a baked goods delivery to local law enforcement on Tuesday. The Lincolnton Police Department, all offices of the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office including the detention center and the Lincoln County office of the N.C. Highway Patrol all received more cookies, cakes, donuts and candy than they could eat in a week.
“Law enforcement is inherently a close-contact job,” said Bulla who worked as in emergency medicine as an EMT for 20 years. “They conduct pat-down searches, arrests and transport prisoners. Keep in mind, during a transport, it’s a small, closed environment. They also enter homes, provide first aid, handle driver’s licenses and registration cards. They also work in detention centers, jails and prisons.”
Some newly implemented law enforcement and policing measures can help mitigate risks, but physical distancing can’t always be implemented, Bulla added.
“Think of State Highway Patrol troopers, who must keep their face at a car window, sometimes inside, to detect the odor of alcohol, observe weapons or illegal items in plain sight,” he said. “Law Enforcement officers don’t have medical-grade PPE, such as isolation gowns, face shields or goggles, NIOSH-approved N95 filtering facepiece respirators or higher, however, law enforcement officers must assume everyone is presumptively positive.”
Bulla said that he respects and admires fire and medical first responders and hospital providers.
“Having said that, law enforcement is often the forgotten profession when the public celebrates and honors those who face the highest threat of exposure,” he said. “I’ve seen and participated in several activities honoring healthcare professionals. I’ve taken brownies to the deputies in East Lincoln on my own, but this is the first organized distribution I’ve planned.”
With safety in mind, Bulla, Vinzant, Williams-McGinnis and Calderon collected store-bought baked goods, items baked by professionals and those baked by people personally known to Bulla or the distribution coordinators. Some people donated cash which Bulla used to buy extra brownies and cookies.
“I personally know dozens of local and state law enforcement officers in Lincoln County, mostly from previously serving on the rescue squad, their providing security and traffic control for my events, contributing to fundraising and organizing, State Highway Patrol providing protection for dignitary guests who attend, or law enforcement officers inclusion in the Lincoln County Child Advocacy Center Multidisciplinary Team. I’ve never been denied a request of local law enforcement.”