Law enforcement change policies for COVID-19 protection

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Law enforcement will be patrolling and handling calls differently during the COVID-19 pandemic.

One message from local law enforcement is to avoid calling them unless you have a real emergency.

This is just one of the many ways they are hoping to keep citizens safe, while also stopping the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Deputies also have the ability to see if a home they're dispatched to contains someone who is either positive or has been tested for COVID-19 with information shared by health authorities.

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Local law enforcement will still be showing up to work and patrolling the streets.

"If we are putting any prisoners in the back of our vehicles, obviously before anybody else is introduced to the vehicle, we are decontaminating the vehicles out, cleaning the seats, the seat belts, things like that," Precinct 1 Constable Alan Rosen said.

Officers and deputies are taking precautionary measures to keep the public and themselves safe.

In addition to kits with cleaning products and protective gear in patrol cars, HPD, HCSO and local area constables will make fewer house calls in an abundance of caution when possible.

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"Our dispatchers may be asking questions of people being sick, and if you have a report call, just a report call, you may be able to do that over the phone. What you are looking for is to, A, report the crime, B, get a case number that you can turn in to your insurance," Constable Rosen said.

HCSO shared a video online showing extra steps deputies will be taking during traffic stops and arrests when they are forced to break the social distancing standards.

Rosen said if any of his deputies feel ill, they are being sent home on administrative leave and tested according to the CDC guidelines. He said deputies are also checking on the elderly.

"We are constantly keeping in contact with those populations that are vulnerable. So now I think is the time as a country, as a community, (that we) really come together," Rosen said.

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