Local law enforcement adapting to protect officers during COVID-19 outbreak

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- As COVID-19 cases increase in the Central Valley, local law enforcement agencies are taking steps to protect front line officers and dispatchers.

In the city and county of Fresno, first responders are being told to limit as much physical contact as possible.

"We're working with them to maybe cite more people out instead of having to book them in jail," said Todd Fraizer with the Fresno Police Officers Association. "Saving an officer more exposure time, potentially. Because obviously, transporting someone in the backseat of your car increases exposure."

At the Fresno County Sheriff's Office, a new system in place gives deputies information on locations where they should take extra precautions. That includes home addresses where people have previously tested positive for COVID-19.

"So those are already inputted into our computer system, so not only Fresno county, but the 15 cities in Fresno county have that," said Eric Schmidt with the Fresno County Sheriff's Association. "So if we get dispatched to a call on 123 A St., that will flag, and the dispatcher will let the officer or the deputy know."

Fresno police officers are also working with dispatchers to encourage callers to meet officers outside of their homes, so officers don't have to go inside.

At both agencies, hand sanitizer, gloves, and masks are running low.

Fresno Police officers are sitting farther apart but still having briefings at the start of each shift. In Fresno County, deputies are not gathering unless necessary.

With less cars on the road, Fresno police have redeployed part of its traffic unit to watch over shopping centers while residents are out getting essential needs.

For more news coverage on the coronavirus and COVID-19 go to ABC30.com/coronavirus
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