Despite society grinding to a halt amid the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s largely business as usual for the Belle Police Department, according to Detective Sergeant Terry Stier, who is acting as the city’s emergency manager.
Stier who spoke to the Herald on Thursday wanted to reassure the public that Belle Plaine police officer will still be responding to 911 calls, with some changes in some cases. In the event of situations like heart attacks or active physical threats against an individual, Belle Plaine police will respond as they usually would.
Callers should expect Scott County dispatch to screen callers for flu-like symptoms. If one was to respond affirmatively to the question, officers will conduct as much communication with the caller as possible from behind a closed door of their location. But those concerned about emergencies can rest easy knowing the department will respond as usual.
"Incidents that are considered essential, critical, or emergencies will continue to receive immediate in-person police responses and intervention as it has always been the case in the past," the police department wrote in a Facebook post.
Belle Plaine squad cars are currently equipped with COVID-19 personal protective equipment kits, which come complete with Tyvek body suits, safety goggles and N95 masks, so if officers need to enter a home of an individual who is exhibiting symptoms, they can do so safely, Stier added.
“I just want people to remain calm,” Stier said. “We’re going to get through this together, and we need the public’s help to do that.”
As for the station itself, the public may not use the lobby for the time being, but calls can still be made to the department at 952-873-4307.
Belle Plaine City Hall is set to close on Thursday, March 19, but staff will still be working to process citizens' administrative and business needs, including issuing permits, processing utility payments and other essential city business, according to a public statement from the City of Belle Plaine.
Additionally, a drop box will be available at city hall. Any paperwork, payments, permits or general correspondence may be placed in the drop box and will be distributed daily to the appropriate department.
Utility bill late fees and over the phone payment fees are being waived this month, the city wrote on Facebook.