CHARLOTTE — The Fraternal Order of Police is asking law enforcement agencies to modify how they patrol to minimize public contact while in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Police officers take more risks than the rest of us, but during this pandemic, some believe that answering every call is an unnecessary risk.
“I just hope that everything goes well with that and we don’t spread the virus," said furniture store owner Davis Zion.
He owns a furniture shop in Pineville, and the police department there -- and in every city and town in Mecklenburg County -- got a letter from the Fraternal Order of Police asking agencies to rethink how officers are dispatched because of COVID-19.
The FOP is asking that agencies modify how they police in order to minimize public contact.
The letter reads: “We would like your department to take into serious consideration a temporary hold on dispatching officers to non-emergency calls. We feel that limiting the types of calls officers respond to will significantly reduce the potential of exposure.”
New York is an example of why there is so much concern. So far, more than 200 NYPD officers have tested positive for the virus.
Channel 9 asked CMPD if they were considering the proposal. The department told us they asked the community to report non-emergencies online, which has resulted in 2,000 fewer 911 calls.
The department also said if members of the community still want to request an officer's response for non-emergency crime, one will be dispatched.
While Zion loves to see the police, he's siding with the FOP on this one.
"There is something going down where a cop needs to be there, he needs to be there, regardless of the virus, but if your car got stolen and it was 12 hours ago and they want to do a report, probably do a report over the phone," he said.
All of the agencies Channel 9 spoke with have modified some things to protect officers, but none have gone as far as the FOP wants.
In the video at the top of this webpage, Channel 9’s Glenn Counts asks CMPD how they plan to enforce the law as the virus spreads.
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