Boone Police enacts new protocol for COVID-19

Tucker Wulff, Reporter

Boone Police Chief Dana Crawford implemented the department’s COVID-19 response protocol Friday to protect officers and citizens alike.

The protocol involves adapted methods of police response for certain calls, according to a news release issued by the Boone Police Department. The release lists specific changes to the department’s police work. 

BPD will not respond to medical calls unless there is “a specific need” or assistance is requested by Watauga Medics or Boone Fire. 

Secondly, “Calls for service will be assessed to determine if an officer response is necessary or if a report may be taken over the phone to avoid personal contact.” 

Investigations will still be conducted by the department in the event that an initial report is taken over the phone and officers will respond to calls in which there is “any threat or possibility of violence,” if there is evidence to collect or if the reporting person deems a telephone report unacceptable. 

The release states that BPD understands officers could be exposed to COVID-19 and it is concerned about the potential for spreading the virus to higher risk individuals such as the elderly and immune-compromised. 

“We do not intend for the quality of our police service to suffer,” the release stated.

BPD Capt. Andy Le Beau wrote at the end of the press release that he and Chief Crawford “would like to thank our dedicated police officers and 911 operators”

“We will take all available precautions and provide our staff with all of the available personal protection equipment that we can obtain,” Le Beau said in the release. “We appreciate the Boone Community and hope that we can all pull together as a community even though we need to make all efforts to stay apart until this virus runs its course. We are referring citizens who request information about COVID 19 to or they can be reached at (828) 264-4995.”