Coronavirus

Los Altos police officer thanks health-care workers in countywide event

Los Altos police officer Brian Werner stood alongside fellow public servants April 15 at a Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office-sponsored event honoring health-care workers at Valley Medical Center in San Jose, representing the city and, according to Police Chief Andy Galea, supporting the “close working relationship that has always existed between law enforcement, first responders and nurses and doctors.”

Werner and members of the Sheriff’s Office; the Campbell, Gilroy, Milpitas, Morgan Hill, San Jose and San Jose State University police departments; the CHP; and the San Jose and Santa Clara County fire departments lined both sides of the street in front of the hospital at 6:30 a.m. to honor the medical staff. They clapped for workers arriving to and departing from their shifts.

“As first responders, we are familiar with and aware of the inherent dangers of our chosen professions,” Sheriff’s Office representatives said in a press release. “We wanted to take a moment to recognize and thank all the medical professionals working tirelessly on the front lines to save lives during this pandemic. These heroes show up to work each and every day and are making a true impact in the fight against COVID-19.”

With teams at the Los Altos Police Department working alternate shifts of seven days on and seven days off, answering approximately 58 health-order calls per week in the first three weeks of the shelter-in-place directive on top of regular calls – according to a log kept by the Town Crier – Galea said the agency wanted to show its love but couldn’t afford to send more officers with a day’s notice from the Sheriff’s Office. Still, after talking with Capt. Katie Krauss, they “jumped at the chance,” he added.

“The Sheriff’s Office handles security at VMC because it’s a county facility, so it was initiated by Sheriff (Laurie) Smith and her staff,” Galea said of the event. “I think the way everybody feels right now is that we can’t thank our health-care workers enough.”

Galea said describing health-care workers as “being on the front lines” could not be more accurate.

“They are in there, on the front lines, treating seriously ill individuals while working an outrageous number of hours,” he said. “They need and deserve every bit of support we give to them.”

Galea noted that the Los Altos Police Department has always had a tight bond with local hospitals and clinics. El Camino Hospital, for example, sponsors an event to thank first responders annually.

“That demonstrates the mutual level of respect we have for one another,” he said.

The Valley Med event was another way for the department to show gratitude for medical professionals.

“Even though it wasn’t in Los Altos, we (are all) constantly interacting with one another,” Galea said. “That was the other driving force of everyone wanting to pitch in.”

Werner was not available for comment prior to the Town Crier’s deadline.

To donate to health-care workers, visit the County of Santa Clara Public Health Department’s coronavirus donations page at bit.ly/34E1SWd.

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