Pandemic doesn’t change this: PPB on patrol 24/7

Coronavirus

Despite social distancing, 'they're not going to run away'

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — It’s not a typical weekday patrol for Portland Police Officer Carrie Hutchison and trainee Officer Katie Caramucci. It’s quiet, too quiet.

But that’s the point of Gov. Kate Brown’s emergency order for people to stay at home. Essential services — like protecting the public — continue.

“We train for a lot of eventualities. We put ourselves at risk everyday,” PPB Lt. Tina Jones said. “This is just a different type of risk.”

Portland police on foot patrol and keeping an eye out not just for personal crime but property crime as well now that thousands of businesses are shut down.

PPB is urging people to call or email rather than have an officer come out if it is not truly emergency. The bureau is trying to limit person-to-person contact to protect officers and their families.

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“We are asking community members on certain calls if it requires an in-person response, our officers are trying to get people out in the open air to keep the 6-foot distance to come out,” she said.

For now, officers are not walking around with protective face masks, but they are taking precautions to stay safe.

“Our officers wear gloves. They are outfitted with the air purifying respirators and have directions to wear that, if needed,” Jones said.

While there may be fewer problems to respond to on quiet streets, there could be more trouble behind closed doors. Domestic violence calls have increased slightly, with 34 arrests in the past 2 weeks.

Portland police aren’t shying away from their public mission.

“They are not going to just run away because they have to get within 6 feet of somebody else,” Jones told KOIN 6 News. “If somebody’s life is in danger or imminent public safety risk they will step into that space and make an arrest or do what they have to do to keep us safe.”

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