A California police chief urged White House officials to make testing first responders for coronavirus a priority during a conference call between police chiefs and White House and Homeland Security officials. "Stop testing NBA players, and start testing our first responders," Vacaville police chief John Carli said during the Friday call organized by the International Association of Chiefs of Police, per ABC. Carli complained that he was having to go through "backchannels" at a local hospital to have officers tested. "Somebody needs to make a decision at the very high level so that we’re not having to have these decisions made [this way]," the chief said.
During the call, Norbrook, Mass., police chief Bill Brooks said a major focus of police was now "sustainability." "I need the police department to be operational and healthy 60 days from now," he said. Carli tells the Reporter that he stands by the remarks. He says he wasn't criticizing NBA players—who "have loved ones" and are going through the pandemic "the same way everyone else is"—but he wanted to get the message across to "officials that answer to the highest levels of government" that the health of police officers is important. "Let’s establish that first responders have a high-priority need," he says. (Read more coronavirus stories.)