The COVID-19 pandemic, otherwise known as coronavirus has impacted our way of life in numerous ways. From restaurants and bars being shut down, to St. Patrick’s Day parades being canceled, the effect it is having on our daily lives is unprecedented.
But what about police departments? How are they responding to the pandemic? Let’s look at how some of the major metropolitan area police departments are responding.
As much of America shelters in their homes due to the coronavirus pandemic, there are those who are still out in the community doing their jobs.
The first people who come to mind are of course doctors and nurses who are on the front lines treating patients and who are doing heroic work.
There are the people who are working in grocery stores so that some people can hoard food and other goods, while truck drivers are still delivering those groceries and goods to the stores.
Airlines are still flying, albeit on reduced schedules and restaurants are changing their business models to allow for take-out and delivery services.
Clearly we are in a different world right now and police departments across the country have been changing their response models to reflect the current state across the U.S. Some police departments have taken a lighthearted approach mostly on social media, trying to display a sense of humor to lighten the mood a bit.
Due to the confirmed case of #COVIDー19 from community spread, SLCPD is asking all criminal activities/nefarious behavior to cease until further notice. We appreciate your anticipated cooperation in halting crime & thank criminals in advance. #SocialDistancingNow #behaveyourself pic.twitter.com/JeQnQKdXAT
— SLC Police Dept. (@slcpd) March 14, 2020
With that being said, the major police departments have adapted their operations to the pandemic.
In New York, the department has changed how they deal with people displaying “flu-like symptoms” at the time of their arrests, according to Mayor Bill de Blasio at a recent press conference.
“Anyone who is arrested and has flu-like symptoms will not be taken to a precinct, will not be taken to central booking. There will be a specific methodology limiting their contact with our first responders and using a video conference system to immediately provide for the workings of the criminal justice system,” he said.
He noted that first responders would be trained how to handle such situations.
As of Wednesday, New York had 1,339 reported coronavirus cases in the city according to Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
The NYPD has told its members they can still work if they have been in close contact with someone who tested positive for the virus, which is in accordance with CDC guidelines.
“They just need to take some extra precautions,” the department said in an administrative bulletin. “Those important precautions include monitoring their own health and taking all cautionary steps including distancing, hand washing, avoiding touching eyes and face and utilizing hand sanitizer in the workplace.”
Of course, since social justice warriors never miss an opportunity to implement their soft-on-crime agenda, Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez has said his office will decline to prosecute certain low-level offenses in the interest of “maintaining public health and safety.” In other words, it’s open season for crimes like shoplifting, burglary, vandalism, etc.
— Eric Gonzalez (@BrooklynDA) March 17, 2020
Other area district attorneys disagree with Gonzalez, including Staten Island DA Michael McMahon.
“My office remains fully committed to prosecuting those who commit crime and working together with our partners in the NYPD in order to keep our communities safe,” he said in a statement to FOX Business.
“We will not turn our backs on the victims of crime now by adopting misguided policies which would put the public at risk and only lead to an increase in overall crime.”
The soft-on-crime approach is not going to end with just those who commit new crimes.
For those currently locked up, de Blasio said in a recent news conference that his Office of Criminal Justice and the NYPD are looking at “the number of people in our jail system who might be particularly high risk in terms of vulnerability to the virus and another category of people, those who are incarcerated but are at low risk of re-offending.”
There are others who are hoping to use the pandemic to their advantage as a “get out of jail free” card, such as the former head of the Cali drug cartel, Ponzi scheme dirtbag Bernie Madoff, President Trump’s former personal attorney Michael Cohen and others.
In Madoff’s case, he had previously asked to be released early due to his terminal kidney disease, however his attorney is now asking for all at-risk federal prisoners to be released due to the coronavirus.
“The federal prison system has consistently shown an inability to respond to major crises,” Madoff’s attorney Brandon Sample told the AP. “My concerns are even more amplified for prisoners at federal medical centers and those who are aged.”
The New York City’s Board of Correction called for officials to “remove from jail all people at higher risk from COVID-19 infection; and…rapidly decrease the jail population,” according to a press release.
The board noted that they consider inmates “at higher risk” if they’re over 50 or have underlying health conditions. It also asked for the release of people detained “for administrative reasons,” such as parole violations and those sentenced to a year or less.
The board’s proposal was slammed by the president of the Correction Officers’ Benevolent Association, who called the proposal “asinine” and “beyond irresponsible.”
“It’s very sad that we have to remind the Board of Correction that their mandate, per the city’s Charter, is to advocate for the welfare of everyone in the Correction Department, not just the inmates,” said Elias Husamudeen.
“Instead of recklessly letting inmates out, call for the city to ramp up its efforts to bring in more masks, gloves, hand sanitizers, and other vital supplies.”
Meanwhile, in Miami, FL., the department is taking measures to “minimize contact as much as possible” in order to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus. Department spokesperson Kiara Delva said in a statement that the department is asking residents to file certain non-emergency complaints, such as property crimes either online or via telephone.
— Miami PD (@MiamiPD) March 17, 2020
“At the same time, we would like to ensure our residents that we will continue to handle our duties and responsibilities as their public servant,” Delva said. “Our department is robust & our officers will continue to respond to calls for service where there’s a need for police presence, including ALL emergencies, disturbances, etc.”
Florida had 217 cases reported as of Wednesday, according to Johns Hopkins University and Medicine’s Coronavirus Resource Center.
The Los Angeles Police Department meanwhile has closed its “front desks and walk-up service” for all of their precincts effective Wednesday Fox Business was told.
“Instead of going to your local area station, we are asking the public to use unique email addresses assigned to each of our 21 area front desks,” the release states. “Those emails will be monitored 24/7 and routed to the proper channels.”
LAPD announced today that it would be putting half of its detectives on street patrol and closing down its front desk operations in response to the coronavirus pandemic https://t.co/0oRiLtwb1R
— CBS Los Angeles (@CBSLA) March 17, 2020
In addition, LAPD is also re-assigning half of its detective workforce to patrol assignments in order to ensure “the safety of the resident and any store operators that may be dealing with very large crowds.”
California has seen 112 positive coronavirus cases according to Johns Hopkins. Meanwhile in San Francisco, officials issued a shelter-in-place order for the city’s 7 million residents, requiring them to stay inside and only go out for food, medicine and exercise for three weeks.
Philadelphia has “temporarily updated our protocols in light of the public health crisis we now face,” according to Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw during a press conference.
“The department is not turning a blind eye to crime,” she said. “We will continue to enforce all laws, however people who commit certain non-violent offenses will be detained and arrested at the scene. When the person’s identity is confirmed they will be released with a warrant issued for them to come in later for processing.”
Philadelphia Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw has ordered officers to hold on arresting suspects for non-violent crimes as part of a greater effort to curb the spread of the coronavirus in the City of Brotherly Love and beyond.https://t.co/v1yvoLttuW
— New York Daily News (@NYDailyNews) March 19, 2020
Officers at the scene will use their discretion, with the help of a supervisor, to determine if the person is a threat or if he or she can be released until a later date, Outlaw continued.
Of course, in Philadelphia, home to uber-left wing liberal nut Larry Krasner as District Attorney, the chances of any of these criminals seeing a day in court are two—slim and none.
As in Los Angeles, officers will be reassigned from plain clothes to uniformed patrol posts to increase visibility and deter crimes, Outlaw said.
In addition, she said training would be suspended for now, and in-person contact with complainants would be amended, saying that some types of police reports will be obtained by telephone, “thereby reducing unnecessary up-close, in-person contact. When we are on the other side of this health crisis we will return back to normal operations.”
Hopefully that is sooner rather than later.
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