Police bring in extra patrol cars to enable social distancing

(Herald file photo)

The Prince Albert Police Service (PAPS) has brought in four additional patrol cars in order to practice social distancing while continuing high-visibility patrols.

The service issued a media release Thursday providing an update on operations during the pandemic.

The service said that officers have been conducting general patrols, known by the force as neighbourhood strengthening, throughout residential areas, business districts and high-traffic locations.

The patrols are “an effort to ensure the safety of local residents, businesses and property,” the service wrote.

So far this month, officers have logged 765 high-visibility patrols in addition to their usual calls for service. They’ve practiced physical distancing during that time.

That includes having only one officer per patrol car, necessitating the addition of four additional cars being brought into service to accommodate health and government physical distancing guidelines, the service said.

“To date, no police officer or staff member with the Prince Albert Police Service has tested positive for the COVID-19 virus,” PAPS wrote.

“Members of the public may see officers in the community wearing masks and gloves as part of additional efforts to protect against the virus.”

Other measures include additional cleaning services to complement staff and enhance daily cleaning, as well as the purchase of a high-powered sanitation sprayer to clean patrol vehicles and detention areas.

The 10th Street downtown substation remains closed to the public. PAPS is promoting online options for criminal record checks and reporting of crimes. Staff members who can work from home have been doing so since late March.

The police said they continue to promote voluntary compliance with public health orders to stay home and limit gatherings to fewer than ten people. Up to April 13, the police had 47 calls for service related to public health orders. The majority of calls involve complaints surrounding non-compliance with social distancing guidelines and travel restriction orders.

No fines have been issued or arrests made relating to the public health order.