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From the frontlines: Police Departments

Graphic created by Dylan Collison


With the situation that the world is in, it is important to have and appreciate essential employees who keep things going. One of the many essential workers that are put to the task are police officers.

In moments such as these, police departments are prepared with procedures and operations in dealing with an emergency such as a pandemic.

Preparations

“As the pandemic developed, we designated operational periods based upon Federal, State and Local recommendations,” said Captain Jeff Fiorita, public information officer (PIO) for The Beavercreek Police Department. “Our personnel have trained for these events in full scale exercises and tabletop exercises. The department was prepared for this type of operation and we quickly adapted to necessary changes to continue our service to the community and our members.”

Wright State University Police Department (WSUPD) also prepared with an emergency response plan and training exercise.

“On Feb. 11, the university hosted a pandemic influenza tabletop exercise with representatives from the eight surrounding counties in the region,” said WSUPD Chief of Police David Finnie. “Participation included officials from public health, hospitals, pharmacies, universities, police, fire and emergency medical services (EMS) representing each of the eight county regions. A number of staff members from WSU also participated in this exercise. This exercise helped establish coordinating mechanisms with other agencies in the county that have since provided a variety of assistance and guidance.”

Crime

Since the lockdown, with most of the population staying at home, the amount of criminal activity has decreased.

“Overall, the reported activity has lessened, however, the self-initiated activity from the officers has increased. In these times, the patrol officers are spending more time driving thru the neighborhoods and the business areas in an effort to be visible, to deter criminal activity, and to let the community know we are here for them,” said Fiorita.

Changes in procedures

In order to ensure the continued safety of the community, both police departments have had changes in their procedures.

“The recommendations from the Federal, State and Local levels has affected the Court system, our usual interaction with citizens and how we typically conduct business,” said Fiorita.

“We are fortunate to have an internet-based reporting system our citizens can use to report crimes and/or information to the department,” said Fiorita. “Our officers are prepared to be proactive and respond to calls for service. The officers are also equipped with personal protective equipment (PPE) to respond accordingly to keep the citizens and themselves safe.”

For WSUPD, patrol operations have been altered.

“Our duties, at this time, have not only been to continue to provide excellence in service to our community, but to ensure that our campus buildings and doors are secure. This also serves to give a police presence in the buildings,” said Finnie.

The impact

With careful precautions to keep the interactions between officers and community members safe, leaders in this department are dedicated to their services and protection of their community.

“I believe, especially during this time, that we need to continue to support our students as police officers and reassure them by our presence on campus. We continue to be visible to all who enter the campus,” said Finnie.