The Lafayette Parish Sheriff's Office and Louisiana State Police will handle emergency calls in Duson until further notice after an outbreak of COVID-19 within the town's police department.

According to Chief Kip Judice, five Duson police officers including Judice himself have tested positive for COVID-19 since Thursday. Judice says he tested positive for the novel coronavirus Monday morning.

According to Judice, administrative calls to the police department will be forwarded to Duson Town Hall. Emergency calls will be forwarded either to the Lafayette Parish Sheriff's Office or to Louisiana State Police as per mutual aid agreements the Duson Police Department has with those agencies. Judice says calls for crimes that are not in progress will be handled by one of the four Duson police officer who is well. Judice says there could be delays in response times because of the situation, but he says all calls in the town will be handled by law enforcement.

"Public safety officials have mutual aid agreements for these type of emergencies and having sick people potentially infecting other citizens is not the proper response," Judice said in a press release. "These procedures will remain in affect until it is safe and responsible for the Duson PD to return to normal operations."

Judice says the Duson Police Department's administrative offices will remain closed for the rest of the week while cleaning crews sanitize the facility. Judice says he expects the office to reopen next Monday (June 13).

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