ELMIRA, N.Y. (WETM) – The Elmira Police Department is implementing some new changes to protect officers and the public during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Officers will continue to handle crimes and emergency calls in-person, but will ask callers to speak with them outside, if possible. Officers are also asking those who call to notify them whether they or someone inside the home is sick.
For minor disputes or claims that can be handled over the phone, officers will contact the caller and try to handle the issue over the phone to avoid face to face contact.
Lt. William Solt of the Elmira Police Department says the best thing the public can do for the department is to be patient and work with them through these changes.
“It’s easy to get frustrated. People have complaints with people in their own home, with neighbors, with other things going on. We just ask that you be patient with us and understand that it’s not that we don’t want to come to you in person, but for their protection and our own, that’s why we have to change the way we come into contact with people.”
Phone numbers are posted on the doors at city hall if people need to contact a certain department.
Officers will be equipped with masks, face shields, glasses and gloves, and will be modifying their staffing to ensure that there aren’t too many officers in one place at the same time. However, they will not be decreasing their minimum staffing levels, according to Lt. Solt.
“The biggest thing is just patience during this time because we’re all learning a new way to live right now.