Citing ongoing concerns for the outbreak of the Coronavirus that continues to spread at an alarming rate, the Portland Police Bureau announced Friday afternoon a temporary policy to lessen officer’s exposure risk. It will reduce the number of calls that officers are dispatched to “in person” and will instead direct officers to use the phone to contact people who have reported certain types of non-life-threatening crimes.
The bureau is encouraging the public to go online to report any crimes that are not life threatening or that are currently in progress. Of course, all individuals reporting emergencies should still call 911.
When asked for clarification on this new policy, police department spokesman, Sgt Kevin Allen stated the police would still dispatch officers to life-safety incidents and in-progress crimes such as sexual assaults, armed robberies, violence involving weapons, in-progress burglaries, and traffic accidents.
Sgt Allen went on to explain the department would not respond to low priority incidents including break-ins and property crimes not in progress, identity theft, or burglaries of a shed next to someone’s home, he said.
“We’re talking about lower level stuff,” Allen said. “The bigger stuff, of course we’re going to respond.”
Allen concluded by saying all online reports would be reviewed by a sworn police officer, and it’s “still very important” that the public reports crime.
This afternoon, President Trump declared a National Emergency in response to the Coronavirus. With many events and businesses closing nationwide as well as an ever-increasing strain on emergency and medical services, you can expect more law enforcement agencies to follow suit with offering limited services.