Leesburg Police Chief Gregory Brown took to social media this morning to assure the community that his department stands ready to serve during the COVID-19 pandemic, but asked for some cooperation and understanding during the current crisis.
In a Facebook Live video address this morning, Brown explained some of the procedural and service changes the department is currently undertaking. These include taking police reports over the phone, rather than in person, when possible; using social distancing to avoid contact with non-arrestees, to include standing six feet away and not shaking hands; utilizing personal protective equipment like gloves and face masks when contact is deemed necessary; and requesting individuals to step outside of their homes and places of business for non-emergency calls.
Officers have also been instructed to routinely wash their hands, and have been equipped with hand sanitizer and sanitizing wipes to use inside their cruisers, and on their gear and equipment. Sanitizing efforts within department headquarters on Plaza Street have also increased, Brown said.
For the time being, the department is also suspending many of its popular services and programs, like its ride-along program; car seat inspections; fingerprinting services; Coffee with a Cop; use of its community room for private groups; tours of its department, cruisers and equipment; and tours that involve officers traveling to another location. The department is also currently not able to accept food donations from the public.
“The way we do business just continues to evolve,” Brown surmised.
The chief also said he anticipates cooperation and support from the local business community in complying with Gov. Ralph Northam’s recent mandate that restaurants, theaters, and fitness centers have no more than 10 occupants at one time.
“I thank all of our businesses in advance for their cooperation,” he said.
Brown affirmed that the men and women of his department continue to be dedicated to the community, even in the midst of the ever-evolving coronavirus outbreak. He asked for patience and understanding.
“You may not receive the same level of service you’ve come to expect, but that is to ensure the health and safety of both our officers and you, our community,” he said. “Please be patient with our dispatchers and officers. They want to help you but they also want to remain healthy and safe so they can continue to help you.”
He ended his community address with a touch of optimism in what has become an uncertain time.
“Together we can get through this,” Brown said. “The men and women of our police department are committed to get through this. We all need to do our part to keep our community safe.”
Brown has moved his March 31 Chat with the Chief also to Facebook Live, where he can field questions from the public. That chat is set to begin at 6:30 p.m. March 31. Go to the department’s Facebook page at facebook.com/LeesburgVAPolice for more information.