By Hank Tester

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Police officers face plenty of challenges, but nothing like the coronavirus. It is a new danger added to their everyday concerns for safety.

“We know that every ill that we have in society, whether it is a hurricane, bullets or in this case virus, the officers have to respond. That is their duty that is their obligation,” said John Rivera, the former Miami-Dade PBA president.

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That’s what cops signed up to do. Now they’re working in an unknown atmosphere that has nothing to do with bullets or knives.

It’s also a circumstance for which they have no specific training.

“They have to deal with things they do not even train for,” Rivera said. “But they have to do it much like the nurses and doctors. They do not have a choice.”

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Cops at the Marlins Park testing facility weren’t 6 feet apart, which Rivera said isn’t surprising. He added that officers are still grappling with the new rules of social distancing, especially in a profession all about human-to-human interaction.

“Most of the families are worried about that phone call or knock on the door if an officer gets hurt,” Rivera said. “Now it’s a little different. Officers are worried about their families. Every officer is protective of their family, so it is getting to a high stress level that most officers never face. This is unique.”

Right now, Rivera said, officers across the state and the nation are facing what he called an “unknown monster.”

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