Police Adopt New Protocols In Response To Pandemic
Newtown Police Department issued a statement via its Facebook page on Thursday, addressing how officers and staff are working with the public in light of COVID-19.
The lengthy post asks the public to keep in mind that police officers continue to do their job, but with a few changes due to the current circumstances.
In a world where social distancing is the new normal, first responders must balance helping the public while keeping themselves safer than ever. Everyone is being told to not shake hands, to not hug, to not even get closer than six feet from another person. Those behaviors, even when it means life or death, could be read as stand-offish.
Newtown Police Department, the post states, “remains committed to its mission to protect and serve our community. With that said, we are also doing our best to keep our officers and community safe from any possible contamination and further transmission of the coronavirus (COVID-19).”
Officers are not being unfriendly when they are keeping their distance.
“It’s just that we can’t afford to have all our officers in quarantine,” the department notes.
The department is asking the public to be more cognizant of why they call for help.
“We are still taking calls and complaints,” according to the notice, but officers are also doing their best “to practice social distancing while serving you as to not infect the entire department.”
If dealing with a life-threatening emergency, the public should still call 911.
If a call to the police department is less than an emergency, however, the department is urging the public to use its routine line, 203-426-5841.
With the routine calls, callers will still be directed to an officer who can take their complaint and assist over the phone.
Call Before Visiting; Some Services On Hold
The Police Department is asking the public to call the routine line before visiting the station.
“Chances are we will be able to assist you with whatever you need over the phone and through other electronic formats,” the post notes.
For those who do visit 3 Main Street, signs are posted asking visitors to not enter the building if they are ill.
Those who go into the lobby will be directed to an internal phone, through which they will be able to speak to an officer. There will be no person-to-person initial contact.
The Records Window is closed until further notice. Information needed from that department can be done over the phone, via e-mail (go through the staff directory available at newtown-ct.gov/newtown-police-department), or USPS mail (3 Main Street, Newtown CT 06470).
Fingerprinting and car seat installation services are suspended for the time being.
Also, while the department enjoys meeting members of the community, including those who stop in just to say “Hello” and/or offer food or gifts, this is not the time to do so.
“The department is not accepting visitors and/or any items at this time,” according to the statement.
“In closing, please be assured that should you need a police officer you will get one. We are out in our neighborhoods patrolling constantly and are a phone call away.
“The types of small changes that we are making are being done in police departments across the country and, in fact, the world.
“We ask, and fully anticipate, that the public will assist us in our mission by fully complying with the state and local directives. This includes restrictions on restaurants and bars, gatherings of large groups, and utilization of our parks, fields, and playgrounds.
“Violating these restrictions will only place you and the officers in unnecessary danger and diverts vital services away from your fellow neighbors who may be in actual need. In this time of uncertainty the safety and welfare of our community is our top priority. We will get through this together as long as we practice common sense and kindness and remain calm.”