In response to inquiries from the media, Officer Chuck McPhilamy of the Marietta Police Department sent an email describing the adaptations the department is making due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Here is a long excerpt from the email:
Based on recommendations from the CDC, we ARE making limited changes effective today regarding how we operate as a police department. Our Uniform Patrol is fully staffed and here to serve as needed, but implementing some basic precautions will enable us to do our part in preventing the spread of the coronavirus. Here is a list of the changes as of today:
- Reports will no longer be taken while inside the lobby, an officer or ambassador will accompany the individual outside. When possible, the individual needing the report can remain in their vehicle with the officer or ambassador standing outside their vehicle.
- We are working on implementing a call-in procedure where some incident reports can be handled via the telephone. Details will follow on social media soon.
- If the call for service requires an in-person police response, when feasible, we will handle the call outside of buildings, houses, enclosed structures. We will ask all involved parties to meet with the responding officer or ambassador outside to provide the necessary information. Meeting outside will enable us to be mindful of social distancing and protect all parties involved.
- If a call for service requires contact with a confirmed COVID-19 patient, officers must don their department issued Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), to include gas mask if it is part of their issued equipment. Officer must maintain social distancing and if the patient is cooperative, provide them with a surgical mask to wear to prevent the spread of droplets. Officers must then advise their supervisor of the incident who will then ensure public health professionals are notified promptly.
- When removing PPE Equipment, officer must be aware of cross contamination. Used PPE Equipment must be disposed of in a sealed plastic bag. Officer must wash their hands with soap for at least 20 seconds. All non-disposable equipment must be thoroughly cleaned with disinfecting products.
We are not planning to do any telephone or on-camera interviews related to the coronavirus at this time. The information used to create these new procedures came largely from the CDC. You can find more information here: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/guidance-law-enforcement.html