Auburn Police Division is making changes to stay safe in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We’re working very hard to keep ourselves and the individuals we work with safe,” said Assistant Chief Clarence Stewart. “Our core mission of what we do here hasn’t changed a lot, but we have put certain things in place to ensure that everyone is safe.”
Unlike the Auburn Municipal Court, the police station at 161 N. Ross St. will remain open to citizens, Stewart said. The office will be staffed as usual. Citizens can only come into the lobby. They are not required to sign signature sheets or file minor reports unless necessary. If the police station lobby becomes crowded, officers may ask that citizens wait outside to be helped to increase social distancing, Stewart said.
Police officers exercise caution when in contact with citizens, trying to keep a six-foot distance. During traffic stops, an officer may approach the vehicle from the passenger side to increase their distance, Stewart said. Ultimately, it is the officer’s discretion for whether they pull someone over or how they contact someone.
“Fortunately, there’s not a lot of traffic in Auburn,” Stewart said. “[Traffic] is less than it is during the summer or when classes aren’t in session. We’re only making a handful of traffic stops.”
Officers keep safety equipment in their vehicles, including masks, gloves, hand sanitizer and cleaning supplies for vehicles. Before the pandemic spread, officers still kept most of these supplies in their vehicles and cleaned out their vehicles regularly, Stewart said.
“Since I’ve been here, that’s something we’ve practiced the whole time,” Stewart said. “Before a shift, you have to ensure your vehicle’s clean as well as after you transport someone. This is something our guys have been used to doing.”
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Officers are also trying to conserve supplies that are harder to purchase. APD should have enough toilet paper and hand sanitizer to not run out immediately, Stewart said.
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