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Durango Police Department to limit nonemergency services amid COVID-19 spike

Officers may respond to certain calls for service by making a phone call
Because of the surge in COVID-19 cases caused by the omicron variant, the Durango Police Department will limit its nonemergency services to decrease possible exposure to the virus. (Shane Benjamin/Durango Herald file)

The Durango Police Department announced Monday it will limit nonemergency services because of a steep increase in COVID-19 cases locally and statewide.

Civilian employees with DPD will be working from home to lessen the number of people in the office working in close proximity to one another.

Patrol officers will still respond to all calls for service, but certain incidents may be handled over the phone depending on the circumstances.

DPD encourages residents to report nonemergency incidents through its online reporting service when possible.

Lobby hours at the department will be reduced from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., and property release will be available only if an appointment is made ahead of time.

The business phone will still be answered from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. If no one answers, DPD asks callers to leave a message and the department will return the call as soon as possible.

DPD said in a news release that it hopes the service changes are temporary, and that it will work hard to make sure administrative services are provided in a timely manner.

San Juan Basin Public Health said it met with its local government partners, including the city of Durango, in late December in anticipation for the current COVID-19 spike being driven by the highly transmissible omicron variant.

“In late December, SJBPH began prepping our local government partners to review their staffing and operations plans in anticipation of the potential for an omicron surge,” said SJBPH Executive Director Liane Jollon.

Jollon said the current COVID-19 trends are on par with what SJBPH was expecting going into the new year.

The time frame for restoring local government services, such as nonemergency police responses, depends on the actions of residents, she said.

“We really need to, as community members, help out our schools and our essential public services by following public health precautions that we have in place right now,” she said. “A lot of it is up to us.”

SJBPH’s health advisory suggests residents be vaccinated and receive booster shots if eligible, mask up in public indoor spaces and limit exposure to others when possible.

njohnson@durangoherald.com

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