Delta residents may see some changes to policing services during the coming weeks, but the Delta Police Department wants to reassure everyone that it has implemented a robust plan to support public safety during the COVID-19 crisis.
“We’ve had a pandemic plan in place for over a decade,” DPD Chief Constable Neil Dubord said in a press release. “We began pre-pandemic planning in January 2020, when news first started coming out of China.
“As I said in a message to all our employees [on Friday, March 20], I’m very confident in our continued planning process as well as our team’s incredible work. We’re as prepared as we can be in an environment that is changing daily.”
Dubord noted the pandemic plan calls for the department to draw on officers in non-critical roles, such as school liaison officers, to cover sick leave among DPD staff and be redeployed to support front-line services.
However, to conserve resources, the department is starting to drawback on its service delivery — for example, instead of attending all property crime-related calls in person, officers will be taking more of those types of reports by phone.
“But I want to reassure you that DPD officers will continue to attend to all reports of crimes in progress, and persons crimes, including robbery, assaults, domestic violence calls, etc. And we will continue to attend serious collisions and address traffic safety concerns,” Dubord said.
On the latter, he noted that many people are distracted by the crisis, and now more than ever it’s essential for police to assist drivers, pedestrians and cyclists in getting to their destinations safely.
To help stop the spread of COVID-19, all front-line DPD officers have been issued masks, gloves and eye-wear protection and are practicing social distancing. Police vehicles are being thoroughly cleaned, and cleaning has been significantly stepped up in all department buildings.
As well, the department last week suspended fingerprinting services and its volunteer programs, and closed its community police offices.
“I’d like to also give a shout out to the great work being done by our colleagues at E-COMM as they are now screening all callers to ensure first responders have a heads up if anyone is exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms,” Dubord said. “If the public could please assist them and make sure you don’t call 911 for information about COVID. There are plenty of good resources available through our governments.”
The City of Delta has information regarding its response to COVID-19, impacts on city services and more, plus links to the Fraser Health, Health Canada, HealthLink BC and BC Centre for Disease Control websites, available at delta.ca/coronavirus.
“As a community, we will get through this together,” Dubord said, adding residents should follow the guidance of Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, especially in avoiding large groups of people and practicing social distancing.
“We need to continue to look out for one another.”