Cambridge PD on duty through the outbreak

Submitted to Dorchester Banner/CPD
Cambridge Police Department officers remain on duty through the crisis.

CAMBRIDGE — “You call us if you need us, we’re there for you,” Capt. Justin Todd of the Cambridge Police Department said Friday.
He was speaking of officers’ availability to citizens throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, an emergency that has stretched and stressed the resources of the CPD as it has other public and private organizations.

The department was already short-staffed when the virus hit, so in terms of personnel, there weren’t many officers to move around. The solution, at least in the short term, was to create two 12-hour shifts.
With five or six officers on each, and an equal number at home in reserve, they could stay separate to reduce the risk of infecting one another. But it’s still a uniquely challenging situation.

“They never teach you anything about a pandemic,” Capt. Todd said of law-enforcement training.
And while the usual perception of officers’ facing danger involves fists or even gunfire, this threat can’t be seen or fought off. “We have to interact” with the public, he said.
Much like other first responders, police officers will find themselves in close contact with citizens, regardless of the situation. None more so than health-care workers, though, to whom Capt Todd sent his best wishes, saying, “God bless them.”

As the coronavirus crisis develops, the CPD has been involved in educating the public about the prohibition on gatherings of 10 or more individuals. “They don’t mean any harm,” Capt Todd said, but sometimes need to hear the rules.
Officers are not primarily interested in issuing citations or arresting those who gather in groups larger than allowed, but they are ready to do so if necessary, he said.

On Monday, however, Gov. Larry Hogan issued a stay-at-home order for the state’s citizens and said law enforcement would be stricter.
While residents of the city are coping with the shutdowns of businesses and schools, there is a lot of downtime for many, especially young people who are not in class.

“Idle time can cause a lot of issues,” Capt. Todd said, adding that as it gets warmer and people are anxious to spend time outdoors, “I expect it to get busier, as it would any time.”
If citizens need non-emergency help from the CPD, they are asked to call the department first, to describe the issue. This allows officers to reduce their exposure.

Still, “Our role as police officers hasn’t changed,” Capt. Todd said. “However, our procedures have changed.”
The department’s non-emergency number is 410-228-3333. In case of emergency, call 911.


Helpful Coronavirus links

Maryland Department of Health Coronavirus Page
CDC: About the Coronavirus Disease 2019
CDC: What to do if You Are Sick
Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center
AP News Coronavirus Coverage

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