Require use of face masks by Sudbury police conducting traffic stops.

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On the morning of July 6th my elderly father was involved in a traffic stop in Sudbury, Massachusetts. The officer approached the open driver’s side window without social distancing, and without a mask. 

Upon learning of the incident, I called the Sudbury police department and was informed that Sudbury police officers are not required to wear masks during traffic stops, and are following guidelines as laid out to them. I reminded the Sergeant that the CDC recommends face coverings for all people over the age of two, and I would expect the police department to hold the safety of the community as priority, and lead by example. The officer involved in the stop did not practice social distancing, and did not put on a mask when dealing with a high risk member of his community. That is unacceptable.

I'm asking for your support in requesting the Sudbury police department use science as a guide through what has become a haze of partisan rhetoric. Requiring officers to wear masks during traffic stops, is a first step toward their contribution to ensuring the safety of vulnerable members of the community.

The power dynamic of a traffic stop is such that a civilian may be uncomfortable asking an officer to step back from their car and put on a mask. It’s understandable to think such a request could affect the outcome of the stop; a warning versus a citation. It makes sense that an officer would not be able to social distance without standing in the road if the passenger’s side is occupied (it was not, in my father’s case).  In such a circumstance, it should be no question that the officer then puts on a mask. 

Many of us are living through this pandemic with the added stress of worrying about high risk loved ones. Almost 16% of Sudbury residents are over the age of 65. That does not account for residents with chronic illnesses. That's more than 3,000 members of our community whose protection is not being taken seriously by those who are paid with taxpayer dollars to have their best interest at heart.

I am asking the Sudbury police department to implement policy requiring officers wear masks during traffic stops. We have an obligation to protect vulnerable members of our society. This is a moral, not partisan, issue. We pride ourselves in Sudbury on our outstanding school system, so let’s reference the science we champion and use this opportunity to lead by example.