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Police still answering call for duty during COVID-19 crisis

IMPD works through COVID-19.JPG
Posted at 12:10 AM, Mar 21, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-21 07:39:52-04

INDIANAPOLIS — Much like healthcare workers, police and first responders are on the front line of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Despite the rapid spread of the novel coronavirus, police officers and first responders are still coming to work every day. They ask you protect them the way they try to protect you.

"You certainly don't want to take anything home to your kids," Sgt. Grace Sibley, of the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department, said.

As a mother and wife, Sibley said when the coronavirus began to spread in Indiana, IMPD immediately pushed out the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendations to all of their officers.

"I think with any of the service professions, any of the healthcare workers and police officers and grocery store workers, everyone is concerned about their family member out in public right now," Sibley said. "You know our officers can't work from home. We all have to come in."

With the spread of the virus, the department has closed all of their roll call sites to the public. Officers are working to file as many police reports as possible over the phone for crimes like theft and harassment. Dispatchers are also screening people for potential COVID-19 symptoms over the phone as they take calls for service.

"We are working with IEMS and we are attempting to come up with a protocol about how we're going to respond to those runs," Sibley said. "Maybe if people could call in and when they call or when they need our services, let us know if you're having flu symptoms, let us know if you're having symptoms, so that we know preemptively that we can put on our PPE or our gloves or stand outside."

The department is monitoring officers who call in sick, but have not had anyone report positive for the coronavirus.

If response times are a little slower, police ask you be patient with them.

"We are here for you and we want to stay safe while we do it," Sibley said.