CHICO, Calif. – With all the concern about social distancing and the spread of the coronavirus, many people are wondering what steps the police are taking to protect themselves and the public.
Action News Now Reporter Mackenzie Drigo checked in with Chico Police and Redding Police to see what precautions officers are taking while on the job.
Deputy Chief of Police Matt Madden said in any situation that a police officer comes into contact with the community, either in person or over the phone, that officer will ask about their health. He said if they have any symptoms of illness, they will figure out what those symptoms and see how if they align with coronavirus symptoms.
Madden said they're also practicing staying 6 feet apart and want others to do the same.
Action News Now asked Madden what officers will do when it comes to traffic stops.
“If somebody does get pulled over for some reason and they are experiencing these types of symptoms, you know being upfront and telling the officer about it will help the officer prepare," Madden said.
One community member, Fallon Mitts, thinks precautions should be in place for officers but doesn't know if mask will help.
“I think its good that they're taking precautions, I've been looking into it a little bit but I don’t know how much a mask will help but if they think it does, then yeah I think they should,” Mitts said.
Madden said if they're responding and someone is experiencing flu-like symptoms, the team will wear an N95 mask and a full-body gown with gloves and clean all equipment and patrol cars. Madden said they're still researching for the best protective eyewear for their first responders.
Action News Now also checked in with Redding Police Chief, Bill Schueller to see what precautions they're putting into place.
Chief Schueller said they have reduced the number of calls that they respond too - that they deem not as lower priority calls.
Schueller said lower priority calls include theft, trespassing, or if the suspect is no longer at the scene will be dealt with online or over the phone.
As for the calls they actually go to - Schueller said they'll ask the callers health questions to help prep officers responding.
He said they have N95 masks, gloves, and gowns and have been practicing distancing.
“If a person has flu-like symptoms and feels they may have some sort of virus whether it’s the flu or COVID-19 or anything else if they're feeling sick they should let the officer know. Our officers have the proper protective equipment if necessary, whether it's at a car stop or public contact anything like that,” Schueller said.
Community member, Briana Castorina said she thinks these are proper protocols.
“Officers do deal with a lot of different people in the community, and you don’t want to risk spreading it to somebody who doesn’t know that the officer could be carrying,” Castorina, said.
Schueller said the Salvation Army donated over 400 masks to the Redding Police Station.
As of now, Madden and Schueller said they're asking the public to utilize the police department's online reporting system.
To report a crime in Redding, CLICK HERE
To report a crime in Chico, CLICK HERE