The coronavirus pandemic is affecting all walks of life and many businesses are forced to close. What remains open is considered an essential business or service.
In particular, law enforcement is one of the most important services to keep open during these uncertain times. Police officers are crucial for maintaining order, providing direction, and protecting citizens.
While the police are essential, they are also affected by coronavirus. This impacts their ability to protect the public. It can also complicate the personal injury lawsuit process in Atlanta if you don’t have access to the documentation a police officer would normally provide.
Because of this, the Atlanta police have created an effective response to COVID-19 that many other cities are also implementing.
To give you more perspective on the situation, we’ll explain how the Atlanta police and cops in other cities are adapting to coronavirus below.
Better Medical Screening
The first measure Atlanta law enforcement is taking is better medical screening during initial police calls.
When someone calls 911, the dispatcher will take information about the caller’s situation and can redirect them in the appropriate direction.
Many calls to 911 are medical. These are often people concerned about their physical health due to an accident they’ve been in, something they’ve ingested, or odd symptoms they are experiencing.
Medical 911 calls have increased during the coronavirus pandemic because more citizens are concerned that they may have it. Before the police or an ambulance can be sent to help, the authorities must know if the medical situation is related to coronavirus.
Medical responses that entail COVID-19 require extra caution, typically sending emergency medical technicians (EMTs) in first to evaluate, then following up with police assistance or firefighters if necessary. This limits the overall exposure and protects cops.
Due to the unique approach to coronavirus calls, 911 dispatchers are exercising better medical screening to keep officers safe.
Good Hygiene and Use of Protective Equipment
Atlanta police are also encouraged to practice good hygiene and use protective equipment during any interactions with the public.
This includes the standard pandemic safety measures that most people are also following. Steps like wearing a mask, maintaining a six-foot distance from others, handwashing frequently, and avoiding direct contact with others are great examples.
Unfortunately, police officers are at a high risk of getting sick due to the nature of their jobs. They must interact with the public and this can place them in the vicinity of the virus, leaving them vulnerable.
Safety measures like the steps outlined above are scientifically shown to reduce the spread and transmission of COVID-19. When law enforcement follows them, it keeps them safer and allows them to do their jobs properly.
Minor Car Accident Responses
A point of controversy in Atlanta surrounds the police response to minor car accidents.
In early August, the Atlanta police force announced that they would not be sending out an officer in response to car accidents that didn’t involve injuries. This was to minimize the amount of relatively significant cases officers deal with.
Unfortunately, this didn’t last long because the department has announced that they will respond to minor accidents once again. This is because the number of cars on the road has increased and more accidents are occurring.
As a result, the police response to car accidents in Atlanta is similar to how it was before the pandemic. The primary differences are the inclusion of protective equipment and following safety steps.
Reconsideration of Resource Allocation
The final step Atlanta authorities are making is to reconsider the allocation of their manpower resources.
Attempting to reduce the in-person response to minor accidents is a prime example of the Atlanta police trying to reallocate their resources. Instead of deploying officers to accidents where they aren’t needed, they are only sent to required calls.
This is significant because it reduces how long a cop spends out in public. The longer they are out in public, the greater their chances of potentially catching the virus due to more interactions with the public.
To achieve this, the Atlanta police are focusing on two directives; encouraging the use of the non-emergency phone hotline and eliminating police presence at non-essential functions.
Both moves directly reduce how often law enforcement spends in trivial situations and maximizes their safety. It is critical to not waste the time of police officers and their physical reallocation greatly benefits this effort.
Many police departments across the country are struggling to address coronavirus. Authorities must balance between keeping their officers safe and protecting the public.
Unfortunately, those two efforts often contradict and put law enforcement in a difficult position. In particular, the city of Atlanta understands this and its police force has implemented an effective response to coronavirus.
This entails better medical screening, encouraging good hygiene and the use of protective equipment, maintaining their approach to minor car accidents, and protectively reallocating their officers.
Police officers are meant to serve and protect, but they must also keep themselves safe. Remember this and understand their limitations during the current pandemic!