Detroit Police change how they work to prevent spread of Covid-19

Posted at 5:02 PM, Mar 19, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-19 17:02:34-04

DETROIT (WXYZ) — As the CDC calls on all Americans to practice social distancing to avoid the spread of the new Coronavirus, police officers in Detroit are asking questions. How should they change what they do to stay safe while also keeping our communities safe?

On Wednesday Police Chief James Craig held a press conference to announce changes.

“We are not turning a blind eye to crime. We believe that these actions alone will reduce the spread of the virus among our first responders and community members,” said Craig.

The chief said he has told officers when they respond to non-critical calls, take extra precautions. For example, they might ask the public to talk to them outside a building at a distance of about 6-feet away to gather information, if it is not an emergency situation.

They will still be arresting criminals who commit high misdemeanors such as sex crimes or domestic violence and felonies. However for lesser crimes, officers have discretion for safety purposes to relax enforcement.

Police officers tell 7 Action News they would like to see more access to hand sanitizer and Lysol to clean their work spaces. They are concerned about how they will be cared for should they get sick.

The Detroit Police Officers Association tells us it is working with the chief on this and that everything is work in progress.

“Again as I have stated before the evolution of COVID-19 is constantly changing. We have to be in a place where we can pivot quickly and still conduct our business,” said Chief Craig.