CALDWELL, Idaho — Idaho has now been grappling with COVID-19 for more than a few months and while it's affected everyone in some way, it’s changing law enforcement practices locally.
“Officers are wearing masks, social distancing, if they don’t have to go into a house, they're not going to go into a house,” Capt. Devin Riley with the Caldwell Police Department told KTVB.
He says since COVDI-19 the department has been taking extra precautions. One being limiting the number of calls officers are physically responding to when possible.
“Say it's a car burglary with no suspect so there's no leads, we would normally go out there and take a report at the house, we do a lot of those things over the phone now,” Riley said. “If it's a major crime and it's something we need to take them to jail, like a felony, we will do that, but if it’s something that can wait then we won’t do that.”
The Boise Police Department is also taking similar actions. Spokesperson Haley Williams told KTVB since the community has been dealing with COVID-19 there has been a decrease in arrests and the number of people taken to jail. She adds officers are also wearing personal protective equipment when needed.
“If we do have to have contact with someone just realize that we're not there to be rude and we might be masked up, but we're doing that not only for our protection but for theirs as well,” Riley said. “Because we see people on a daily basis that we don’t know if they have it or not and they don’t know if they have it or not so we just want the citizens to be safe and protected.”
KTVB also reached out to Idaho State Police, who say their troopers are also wearing PPE when needed.
“In law enforcement, it's critical that people understand exactly what a trooper is saying as the safety of all involved may depend on it. Sometimes that means seeing facial expressions that cannot be obscured by a mask. Also, talking with dispatchers requires clear, crisp communication that may be obscured by a mask," ISP’s communication director Lynn Hightower said in an email to KTVB.
Meantime, Boise and Caldwell police told KTVB they've had one confirmed case of coronavirus this year. Both of those individuals were quarantined after it happened, but as of Tuesday there are no current confirmed cases that they know of.
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