The Rockville Centre Police Department is adapting in the time of the coronavirus while still giving 100 percent to their duties, said Police Commissioner James Vafeades.
The police force is exercising social distancing within its headquarters, as well as thorough, daily disinfectant cleansing of the building and all vehicles. But that’s not all — as first responders who are on the frontlines of emergencies, extra precautions must be taken to ensure everyone’s health and safety during the pandemic.
When reporting to incidents, village police officers screen all people at the scene to see if they are potentially infected, Vafeades said. The officer asks if the person is symptomatic, has been out of the country in the last 14 days and/or has had contact with an infected person. Officers also wear personal protective equipment, or PPE, when necessary. This includes masks, eye protections and gloves.
“If an officer is symptomatic, they do not come to work,” Vafeades added, “and they will stay out of work for at least seven days and need to receive two negative test results before returning to work.”
The village’s team of 56 police officers is limiting contact with the public, while its 36 civilian members are staying home and available for essential duties only. “We are asking that the public not come to police headquarters if at all possible,” Vafeades urged.
Citizens can make reports via phone calls or email, and most police meetings and trainings have either been canceled or take place via conference call.
“Take every precautionary measure possible,” Vafeades offered to the community. “Follow guidelines set forth by government officials, and exercise patience and common courtesy when dealing with your fellow residents. The police department is providing special patrols to areas in need, such as closed businesses, schools, houses of worship and municipal buildings.”