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Law enforcement agencies change how to respond amid coronavirus outbreak

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Law enforcement agencies change how to respond amid coronavirus outbreak

Several police departments and sheriff's offices have changed how they interact with the public when responding to calls for service.

by Adrianne M Haney

ATLANTA — It's a fact of life now as the the global spread of coronavirus continues to unfold - everyone has had to alter how they interact in public to do what they can to contain the spread of the virus called COVID-19. That is no different for law enforcement agencies here in Georgia, who have had to alter their protocols to do their part.

While they will continue to respond to emergencies, several police departments and sheriff's offices have changed how they will interact with the public when responding to calls for service.

ATLANTA POLICE DEPARTMENT

While the department said it has neither confirmed cases of the virus among staff nor suffered an impact on the ability to respond to calls for service, it does has a contingency plan in place that assumes some personnel will either become sick or be required to quarantine.

"Commanders in COD are in close contact with the Mayor’s Office of Emergency Preparedness, The Mayor’s Pandemic Coordination team, as well as public health officials," Chief Erica Shields said in a statement to 11Alive.

The department said it is taking several steps to help mitigate the spread of the virus among the public and staff by doing the following:

  • Encouraging officers to practice good hygiene;
  • Suspending outside travel and training for the entire department as a precautionary measure;
  • Asking EMS personnel to carefully assess and evaluate medical calls to determine if police officers are needed to assist. If it is a situation that does not require a police officer, they will not respond;
  • Rescheduling and postponing participation in certain public gatherings that are non-essential;
  • Ensuring that workspaces and patrol vehicles are properly sanitized;
  • Requiring “non-essential” civilian personnel to telework at least through the end of March;

Read more: https://www.11alive.com/article/news/health/coronavirus/law-enforcement-how-to-respond-coronavirus/85-87acdc34-0528-4256-a9d3-914410368698