POCATELLO, Idaho (KIFI/KIDK) - Social distancing can be challenging if you’re a first responder. Now, local law enforcement is making changes to limit social interaction to help prevent further spread of COVID-19.
The Pocatello Police Department is limiting its interaction with the public by changing officer-response to certain types of calls.
"But, at the end of the day, we still have to police," police chief, Roger Schei said.
Specifically, officers will take vehicle burglaries and theft reports over the phone. 9-1-1 dispatchers will also ask health-related questions for anyone requesting an officer to respond to a scene. Dispatchers will want to know if you have any flu symptoms or any contact with a suspected or confirmed case.
"So it's a way to streamline a few things during the next few weeks to see how this progresses and then we can reassess after that," Schei said.
However, Chief Schie wants to make it clear they are not turning a blind eye to crime.
"We're still responding to calls for service. The types of calls we're talking about are calls we would have responded to in the past but we're going to handle over the phone now. We can respond without a need for us to be physically there to do it."
Officers are now asking neighbors who need assistance to come to their doors to speak instead of them going inside their homes.
"They're doing that for some added protection, not only for us but for the public," Schei said.
So if you’re feeling any COVID-19 related symptoms, such as fever, cough or shortness of breath, inform dispatch and the officer before any in-person contact.
"We will get through this, we will get through this together as a country as a city as a county, we will get through this."