New Guidelines San Benito police implement COVID-19 measures

Situated alongside 77 Sunshine Strip in San Benito, an officer monitors traffic passing by during the afternoon this week. Police throughout the county are stepping up enforcement of shelter-in-place orders. (Maricela Rodriguez/Valley Morning Star)

SAN BENITO — In-person contact protocols have changed since COVID-19, especially for law enforcement.

According to a press release by the San Benito Police Department, when requesting an officer at a home or business, the person requesting must inform the dispatcher of anyone with COVID-19 symptoms or if anyone has tested positive for the virus.

Everyone present at the location must have a face covering once officers arrive and if possible, gloves should be worn.

Lower level issues will be handled by officers over the phone and if possible, social distancing will be practiced while officers are on the scene, said the release.

Interim Police Chief Fred Bell said the officers are expected to be cautious and minimize the amount of contact as reasonably as possible when interacting with the public.

“The officers respond to calls that require an officer’s physical presence. Otherwise, they use the phone and contact the person requesting information or assistance from the public,” Bell said.

“While on patrol, the officers remain visible and monitor what is happening in the community. Officers use their discretion when deciding to initiate contact with the public. These types of contacts are usually the result of behavior that places themselves or others at risk of injury, for example excessive speeding in residential areas, or failing to stop for red traffic lights/stop signs.”

Bell said the press release provided to the community on what to expect if they request to meet with an SBPD officer has all the information needed.

ecavazos@valleystar.com