Police Departments Close Lobbies, Substations To Limit Contact With Public

The Bellevue Police Department has closed two substations to limit contact with the public amid the COVID-19 outbreak.

Meeghan Black with Bellevue Police said this decision was important for the people that volunteer at the department.

“Our volunteers, there are 16 of them that rotate through the substations, are considered to be at high risk if they were to contract this virus,” Black said. “We’re trying to reduce unnecessary exposure or accidental exposure during this outbreak.”

Since those volunteers are the ones that are normally at police substations at Crossroads and Factoria, the department decided to close those stations until further notice.

“We have decided it’s best to ask them to stay home. We want them to stay healthy, we want the public to stay healthy,” Black said.

It’s how the police department is trying to stop the spread of coronavirus.

Several law enforcement agencies throughout Western Washington are canceling meetings, limiting contact with people who aren’t in an emergency and closing parts of their buildings to the public.

“If you dial ‘0’ from this phone it goes right to our dispatch center, which is right upstairs in our building,” Captain Mike Johnson with Bothell Police demonstrated while holding a phone in the department’s vestibule.Nick Popham | Local law enforcement trying to prevent spread of coronavirusoo

According to Johnson, their department made the decision to close their lobby until further notice.

People will have to use the phone to speak with officers but when it comes to things like fingerprinting or going past the doors into the lobby, Johnson says that won’t be happening.

“We won’t stop doing police work because of coronavirus but we are trying to create a safe environment for everybody,” Johnson said.

Both Johnson and Black say they’re asking people to go online when filing non-emergency reports.

“[In order] to try and create that social distancing and limit the amount of time our community is interacting and communicating with each other in close proximity,” Johnson said.

When it comes to enforcing the law, Johnson says that won’t be stopping anytime soon.

“Our full services are available to anyone that needs help,” said Johnson.

We asked Seattle and Tacoma police departments if they’ve made any changes because of COVID-19.

The Tacoma Police Department says they’re maintaining their sanitizers. Seattle PD says they’re operating business as usual.

From www.komonews.com