By DON FLETCHER
News Staff Writer
Atmore Police Chief Chuck Brooks said last week that APD officers and other emergency personnel are doing — and will continue to do — whatever it takes to keep city residents safe during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
But, the police chief admitted, the spread of the virus and the measures that must be taken to stymie the spread, represent a new situation for him and most other emergency responders.
“This is uncharted territory,” Brooks said. “We saw this coming several months ago, and we are trying to do our very best, to do everything we can to keep our people safe, to keep the peace and establish order. At the same time, we are doing everything we can to keep our officers safe.”
He added that emergency dispatchers have begun gathering more information from callers who need police officers or other first responders, each of whom is also taking extra precautions.
“Our responders, especially on medical calls, are wearing masks and gloves,” he said. “Also, we have asked our dispatchers to find out from callers if they have any flu-like symptoms and make sure the responders — law enforcement, fire and rescue, EMS, whoever — know about it if they do.”
He said the presence of such symptoms would not deter emergency responders from their duty. However, he asked those who call to use patience during each response.
“I’m not saying we won’t respond,” he said. “All of us will continue to do our absolute best to provide public safety to everybody. We ask that our residents be patient; we have a lot of calls coming in”
He also urged residents to be good neighbors and good citizens.
“Call and check on your neighbors, especially the elderly ones,” he said. And people don’t need to be spreading false rumors, on social media or elsewhere.”
The key to getting through the currently trying situation is a simple one, he added.
“During this time, people need to try and use as much common sense as possible,” Brooks said. “We all just need a whole lot of common sense.”