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An added layer of protection: Navajo Police get improved indoor air quality

DÁ’DEESTŁ’IN HÓTSAA

The Navajo Nation Police Department recently added air cleaners to its six districts to reduce the risk of infection and the potential for airborne transmission of COVID-19.

Courtesy photo | Navajo Nation Police
Francelia Guy, the public safety telecommunications operator at the Navajo Nation Police Department, works at her desk with an EnviroKlenz air purifier nearby on Feb. 22.

Laverne Buffalo, account maintenance specialist, purchased 40 air purification systems from EnviroKlenz, an indoor air quality company that makes various air purifier models.

She also purchased 10 ultraviolet-C lamps to disinfect surfaces, and 30 electrostatic sprayers, which coat surfaces with disinfectant particles and lay waste to any microscopic threats that may be lurking, specifically the coronavirus.

Navajo Police Lt. Shirley Sanisya said the mobile air purifiers are installed in offices, patrol, dispatch, and lobbies at the six police districts. Each air purifier covers a 1,000-square-foot area.

“The only ones we’re waiting for is the UV lights,” Sanisya said. “We can set those up inside rooms, and the electrostatic sprayers are for rooms and units.”

Sanisya said the department has been making indoor air safer inside the six police districts since the pandemic began in early 2020 when health experts said SARS-CoV-2 could float in the air and linger in poorly ventilated indoor air spaces.

Sanisya said that’s when former Chief Phillip Francisco, Capt. Leonard Redhorse, and Buffalo began researching ways to improve indoor air quality because the Navajo Police team had no choice but to confront the pandemic. They were some of the front-line workers critical to the functioning of the Nation.

Sanisya said the police team was the silent first responder, and of the 186 police officers, 16% contracted COVID-19.

“But because of the high numbers of COVID in the Nation and across the (country), (we) needed a lot of this equipment,” Sanisya said. “But it took a while for us to get them. We’re glad that they’re here.”

Sanisya said district lobbies were closed because of the virus. Now, with this added safety equipment, it’ll help.

“A little bit more control,” she said, “and we can start working with the community.

“I know we won’t be completely normal, but it’s like in that direction is where we’re headed, just for the community to feel a lot safer being around law enforcement,” she said.

Exposed, afraid, yet determined, each of the police officers in the department confronted the stark new realities of life in a pandemic and adapted as best as they could, even if that meant working with a limited supply of personal protective equipment.

“It was challenging because a lot of the supplies were low,” Sanisya explained. “It was a little harder to get the PPE (personal protective equipment) for public safety.

“When we were low on items, it seemed like a lot of the communities donated, even handmade masks,” she added. “Even some of the businesses were making hand sanitizers, and they donated to us.

“I’m just thankful Chief Francisco and our captain pushed a lot of this for us,” she added, “knowing that it’s important and it’s for our safety.”

Sanisya said that department employees feel a little safer with EnviroKlenz’s layer of protection systems that was first designed for the U.S. armed forces.

99.9% removal rate

Courtesy photo | Navajo Nation Police
Navajo police officers unload boxes of air purifiers and disinfecting equipment for the department’s six police districts.

George Negron, the air quality expert and vice president of customer relations for Timilon, said the air purifier that the police department purchased – EnviroKlenz Air System Plus – traps and destroys 99.95 of toxic and noxious odors, chemicals and viruses, including those smaller than COVID-19.

“Unlike other chemical and odor removing solutions that work to mask and collect environmental disturbances, the EnviroKlenz technology works to not only capture but neutralize contaminants,” Negron explained.

“This adsorptive neutralization process ensures no harmful byproducts are created or released back into your indoor environment,” he said, “making it a safe and trusted solution for removing a broad array of toxins and contaminants.”

Negron said the EnviroKlenz Air System Plus retails for $799.

The products went through extensive third-party testing and validation by Intertek Labs against viruses, bacteria and other pollutants for a removal rate of 99.9%, said Negron.


About The Author

Krista Allen

Krista Allen, based in Kaibeto, is the assistant editor of the Navajo Times.

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