EL PASO, Texas -- Police departments in the Borderland region are shifting resources and adjusting priorities in an attempt to maintain public safety while doing their best to prevent infection among officers and the citizens they serve during the coronavirus pandemic.
The El Paso Police Department announced these changes to their "response protocol" on Friday:
- Dispatchers will now ask health and travel related questions to individuals requesting police response.
- Dispatchers may provide callers with specific instructions regarding their interactions with police, to include maintaining a social distance of at least six feet from officers.
- Citizens are strongly encouraged to utilize on-line and telephone reporting options to file police reports when police response is not paramount.
In southern New Mexico, the Alamogordo Police Department went a step further by saying it will now only respond to emergency calls, and it will not dispatch officers for non-emergency issues.
Alamogordo police officials said reports for non-emergency calls such as property damage, home and auto burglaries and civil matters will instead be taken over the phone by calling 575-439-4300.
Both the El Paso and Alamogordo departments said in statements that they appreciate the public's patience, understanding and cooperation to maintain everyone's safety.