PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The coronavirus pandemic literally affects everyone and has prompted law enforcement agencies to adjust to the way they do their job.
In a teleconference Friday, Portland Police Bureau Chief Jami Resch talked about the way the bureau is still serving and protecting — just slightly differently.
When there is a life-safety issue involved or if a call must be handled at the scene, PPB personnel will respond in-person. New and ongoing investigations will continue.
But PPB also expanded its online reporting guidelines. When there isn’t a life-safety issue involved, police will take reports over the phone. They also temporarily suspended their presence at community engagement events.
Additionally, they’re also planning for different possibilities, including if their staffing is impacted by illness.
She said they haven’t seen an increase in sick leave of patrol division (any more than an average sick time this time of year) but they’re monitoring every day. She added there is a plan in place to keep patrols staffed.
They’ve also canceled roll call and closed 2 precincts. Their goal is to both reduce their exposure and to keep officers from being unintentional spreaders of the virus.
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Fewer people going to jail
Chief Resch said the bureau has reduced the number of being being taken to jail. For misdemeanors they’re issuing citations. Those commiting felonies and others that are mandatory arrest offenses are still going to jail.
In contact with health officials
To her knowledge, no one at PPB has tested positive for COVID-19.
The bureau is in constant contact with the Multnomah County Health Department and are looking for ways to increase their personal protection gear. They’ve increased their cleaning schedules and allow employees to telecommute whenever possible.
There are also rotating shifts for the professional staff members at PPB.
Resch said they’re trying to us “common sense” approach in these situations.
They’re still there to Protect and Serve
Any member of the public who feels in danger should call 911, she said.
As the nice weather arrives, so do protests in Portland. Resch said that while this pandemic presents unique circumstances she is confident in PPB’s ability to manage whatever comes up.
Their level of operations is the same. Officers are still prepared to be deployed as needed anytime. And PPB will work with other law enforcement partners around the area to keep this community safe.
“Our officers are showing up everyday to protect the community to the best of their ability,” she said.
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