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16,000 masks donated to law enforcement agencies across the state

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Mask Delivery

SUN PRAIRIE (WKOW) -- Law enforcement officers from all over the state were in Sun Prairie Thursday, picking up donations of N95 masks from a Madison business owner.

They appreciated the generosity, but said it also highlights a major deficit.

"We just want to make sure we have the masks to be able to protect not only our officers but also community members because we go from one residence to the next, we don't want to take anything with us to another location," Chief Mike Steffes with Sun Prairie Police Department said.

The 16,000 masks come thanks to Zerology, the company that owns Green Cab in Madison.

Owner Shree Kalluri came up with the idea after having to shop for masks for his drivers and learned about law enforcement officers difficulties in getting the masks.

"When you think about it, this is the need of the hour," Kalluri said. "So as good citizens of the community, each one of us should do the best that we can to in these circumstances."

Working alongside the Wisconsin Police Chief's Association, they were able to find out how much need each agency had and used the Sun Prairie Fire Station as a drive-thru pick up location.

While the need for masks affects many different areas, law enforcement agencies have found it tougher to get what they need, because when it comes to order priority, they're the last to get filled.

"It's just tough because the national stockpile is obviously depleted hitting those hot spots in our country," Jefferson Police Chief Ken Pileggi, President of the WPCA, said. "This donation is going to help protect law enforcement officers across Wisconsin, some agencies said they didn't have anything."

Pileggi said the donation is only for law enforcement andvhelped fill in the gaps until agencies can receive their own orders.

He also said agencies appreciate the assistance they've gotten from state lawmakers so far, but there's still more to be done.

"Some of the concerns I hear from chiefs is the workers compensation issue," Pileggi said. "There are a couple of issues that we would like to still see addressed with that."

The bill Governor Evers signed Wednesday provides workers compensation to law enforcement, firefighters and healthcare workers only if they were exposed to the coronavirus while working with someone who was diagnosed with the disease.

Of the 16,000 masks, Dane County agencies picked up 1,400 masks.

As for Sun Prairie, they got 55, one for each officer.

Francisco Almenara

Reporter, WKOW

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