MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The Morgantown Police Department is relying on learned lessons and hard work to get through the COVID-19 crisis.
Morgantown Police Chief Ed Preston has experienced more than ten hurricanes and brings some of that experience to help the community and his officers work through the shutdown and maintain readiness. Preston federal guidance publications lay the plans out so communities can tailor them to meet their needs.
“Preparedness for Public Health Emergencies, which was a model after the pandemic Bird/Swine Flu: Lessons Learned from 2009-10,”Preston said on WAJR’s Talk of the Town.
Preston says weeks ago the deapartment began to prepare procedures and practices to make sure they would be able to respond for calls for help effectively.
“All of our front line vehicles, steering wheels, radio controls requiring everything to be cleaned before and during shifts and cleaning the prisoner transport areas,”Preston said,”We started those precautions back in February.
Preston says 12-hour work shifts have been used successfully by other departments during emergency situations.
“Twelve hour shifts, by doing that we’re able to “pod” the officers, so each shift is not interacting with other shifts,”Preston said,”We have the officers direct reporting on duty from the patrol zones so we’re not clustering for patrol briefings with people clustered together.”
Preston says during this emergency detectives are serving as a back up forces, so they can fill in on the street or administratively.
Preston says violation of the stay at home order could result in an obstruction charge if people do not voluntarily comply. He adds one of the most powerful things in these times is information, but it has to be from a trusted source.
“Forget social media, go straight to the Mon County Health Department and get it from the Joint Information Center,”Preston said,”Get your information from credible resources, social media can be a disaster.”