Due to the coronavirus, Kern County law enforcement agencies will stop responding to non-emergency calls in person, instead taking reports online or by phone, according to KTLA sister station KGET in Bakersfield.
The Kern County Sheriff’s Office and Delano and Tehachapi police departments say deputies and officers will still respond to life-threatening situations. They will also still conduct investigations in public spaces, but will limit physical contact with citizens for health and safety reasons.
Authorities also requested people inform them if they have any symptoms consistent with COVID-19 when calling for emergency services.
There are no confirmed COVID-19 cases in the county and the flu is currently considered a greater risk there, according to public health officials.
The new policies take effect immediately and will be in place until further notice in Kern County and Tehachapi, while Delano police said their measures will remain in place through at least April 1.
“The purpose is to ensure the health and safety of our community as public safety is our number one priority,” the Sheriff’s Office said in a statement. “KCSO and other law enforcement agencies have procedures in place to provide mutual aid on a local and state level should a law enforcement agency have staffing issues due to illness.”
State officials have also suspending visitations in jails for the “foreseeable future,” but attorney visits will still be allowed.
The Delano Police Department said its front lobby will be closed to the public.
The agencies say they are also canceling participation in all community events at least through the month of March. All civilian ride-a-longs will be canceled as well.