Custodian steps up to protect Ionia police from virus


Ionia – A man is working behind the scenes as a first line of defense for Ionia Police officers during the coronavirus outbreak.

Steve Slaughter was a part-time contracted custodian at the Ionia Department of Public Safety, WOOD-TV reported. It was a job he volunteered to do for free. In wake of the pandemic, Slaughter was promoted to full time.

“I just see the need and I approached the need as my responsibility,” Slaughter said. “I’m willing to make a sacrifice if that’s the case that will get things done, so we can protect everybody as a whole.”

Steve Slaughter sanitizes an Ionia patrol car with an aerosol mister.

Slaughter uses a disinfectant spray machine and wears gloves and masks to clean nearly every surface officers come in contact with, including patrol cars. He prepares the mixture himself from chemicals provided by the department.

“The mist makes hard to reach areas much more accessible. We’re able to clean everything,” Slaughter said. “It’s reassuring that we have this equipment. … We can protect the staff, protect the officers, protect the firefighters that serve the Ionia community so well.”

Public Safety Director Troy Thomas said cleaning must be done daily because one coronavirus case could be crippling.

“It would devastate a department this size. We could easily lose about half our resources right off the bat,” Thomas said. “Some people may see it as overkill, but I can’t afford to be wrong.”

The department posted on Facebook a photo of Slaughter working.

“If you saw the comments on our Facebook story about this, they’re all the same thing. What a great guy Steve is, helping others,” Thomas said. “That’s just who Steve Slaughter is.”