Patrolling the city during Covid-19


Rochester City Police Department (RPD) Chief La’Ron Singletary has been communicating with the public using a simple and clear message lately………….“We are still here. And we are open for business.”

Also, the idiom “Knock on wood” is being extensively used by the chief, when referring to the low number of RPD officers that have been affected by the Covid-19 virus.

So far 'no one' has tested positive. But unfortunately, a couple of officers have been out doing self-quarantine, because they either had returned from a trip or taking care of a loved one or believe they have been exposed to it, he said.

More than twenty percent of the New York City Police Department (NYPD) have tested positive for the Covid-19 virus.

“This virus…... we cannot sense it, see it or smell it,” Chief Singletary asked. “How do you tactically plan for something you cannot sense, see or smell?” “We had to change it up like every department of the country,” he pointed out. “Typically, at the start of a police officer day, they do roll call, before engaging into a fifteen-minutes briefing to learn about what had occurred in the last twenty-four hours. We had to change that up,” he explained. “We had to eliminate roll calls, because we wanted to limit the amount of contact officers have with one another. They are times, we put two officers in patrol cars together. We had to eliminate that as well and adjust our starting time to assure that there are not many officers in a particular building and issue personal protective equipment (PPE) to our officers.”

“This Covid-19 stuff is real,” the chief accentuated. “Because of the nature of our job, it’s highly possible that our officers could potentially be coming in contact with people, who do not know if they are asymptomatic- (show no symptoms of the virus) but are infected and are able to spread it to others. So, the advice of the medical experts is to treat everyone like they are positive for Corvid-19. And that is for the safety of everyone involved,” he noted. The last pandemic was in the early 1900’s. Unless, you are one-hundred plus years old, no one else was around during that time period. So, this is all new. There is no playbook for this. There is no, we have been here before.

“People are going to be anxious, scared and suffer from trauma,” he said. “So, we got to be prepared to deal with it. But it is okay to be scared. We just got to figure-out ways to deal with it. Many people deal with experiences like that in many different fashions. I know it feels like the world is coming to an end, a lot of things are closed, but they are still available resources for people in this community. To learn more about how to receive those resources, you can reach out to 211 or 311 or 911.”

On the bright side, he also mentioned, they have made a lot of gains in the last eighteen months such as, continuing to keep the crime rate in Rochester at an all-time low.

However, many residents are noticing an uptick in petty crimes such as property theft (delivery packages and other) and their automobiles being broken into and burglarized.

“If it happens to you, then the perception is it’s happening everywhere,” Chief Singletary suggested. “And if it happens to you, it is too many, so it could be the perception. And perception becomes reality. But one thing I will urge residents to do is, if you feel that you need additional police presence, please call 311 and request ‘special attention’ to your area,” he pointed-out. “We always pay attention to the data to see what we kind of need, but certainly if they are areas in the community, where we need to be more visible, please call 311 or you can call my office at (585) 428 7033 and we will assure the area receive some sort of special attention within their neighborhoods.”

“We are still here and still open for business, “the chief reiterated. “There may be a lot that has closed, due to them being non-essential, but the police department is essential. We are here protecting and serving. The men and women of this department have an unwavering commitment to the city of Rochester. And we will continue to go out there to protect and serve,” he pointed out.

“From April 15th going back thirty days, we have made a number of good arrests. We have taken twenty-six guns off the street and arrested twenty-eight individuals, who were responsible for possessing those guns or using those guns in some kind of fashion,” he noted. “Plus, a number of arrests in assault shootings. So, the work is being done. I want to emphasize that. We are open for business, whether to protect and serve or to go after individuals, who want to wreak havoc on the people and the city of Rochester.”

Article by Author Rodney Brown, executive director of Brown Publishing LLC and Southwest Tribune Newspaper
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