The Chief of the Chatham-Kent Police Service has issued a statement on COVID-19 and the impact on police operations.
“The Chatham-Kent Police Service is actively monitoring the reports of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) and considering how the COVID-19 but other respiratory diseases (e.g. cold and flu) will effect our community and organization,” stated Chief Gary Conn.
“In collaboration with the Municipality and CK Public Health we are working to respond to the challenges posed by COVID-19. Our main focus is the health, safety, and wellbeing of our community and staff.”
Conn outlined some information “to update the public” on the Chatham-Kent Police Service’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“When the World Health Organization declared the Novel Coronavirus outbreak an international health emergency on January 31 we have communicated regularly with, and taken guidance from, the Municipality of Chatham-Kent and CK Public Health Unit. To date, this has included monitoring the situation and providing updates and guidance to our members,” Conn said.
“We are also taking other precautions limiting non-essential meetings, events and training. There have been no service disruptions.”
Conn said based on “up to date information” the Chatham-Kent Police Service have decided to temporarily modify some non-emergency services, effective Saturday, March 14, 2020.
“These measures are aimed at protecting all by minimizing the possibility of human to human transmission of the virus,” Conn said.
“All emergency services remain in place. We are asking members of the community to restrict attending Police Facilities unless absolutely necessary. We will not be accepting in-person record check applications or in-person Freedom of Information requests.”
Conn said the record check applications are online at www.ckpolice.com and any Freedom of Information requests can be emailed to OnlineReports@chatham-kent.ca.
“Effective Saturday, March 14, 2020 if you need to attend Headquarters you may be subject to brief non-intrusive screening questions related to the COVID-19 health risks,” Conn said.
“Please understand this is for the protection and peace of mind of our staff who will be serving you and other members of the public. Please do not attend police facilities if you are not well.”
Conn said if people telephone the police requesting an officer attend for a non-emergent event, they may be asked additional interrogation/screening questions related to the COVID-19 health risks before they dispatch an officer.
“Again, this is for the protection and peace of mind of our members and the public,” he said.
“You may see members of our service wearing personal protective equipment such as gloves and masks for their own protection. All emergency services are fully functional. The situation is fluid and dynamic, as the information from health authorities’ changes, so to will our approach.
Conn added: “As these situations may cause stress and anxiety, I want to personally guarantee our community that the Chatham-Kent Police Service and its members are doing everything they can to help mitigate the situation. I want to thank everyone for your patience and understanding.”
Conn said he also wanted to thank the members of the Chatham-Kent Police Service for their professionalism and dedication to their peers and to their community.
Dr. David Colby, Chatham-Kent’s Medical Officer of Health, ordered various measures on Friday, March 13 to control the spread of COVID-19 and he also declared a local emergency as a result. Details, here & here.
The World Health Organization (WHO) officially declared COVID-19 as a pandemic on Wednesday. Details, here.