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Central Coast police departments make service adjustments amid coronavirus outbreak

Posted at 10:48 PM, Mar 19, 2020

Police Departments on the Central Coast are starting to take increased safety measures on the job to protect officers and the public.

The Atascadero and Paso Robles police departments along with several others within San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties have had to plan for the threat of COVID-19.

Whether that means directing people with non immediate threats to call or report online, or even limiting traffic stops, the Paso Robles Police Department says they continue to have full staffing and are out in the community with their usual patrols.

"Certainly just not making unnecessary contacts if it's not needed, but we, by no means lead the public to believe that we are not out there." says Paso Robles Police Commander Caleb Davis, "We certainly have our normal patrol force out there, trying to keep everyone calm, letting everyone know we are here to help if needed."

The coronavirus has officers focused on high priority calls or incidents when responding in person.

"We are out and available but we have probably slowed down on our traffic enforcement at this time, but by no means would an officer not enforce if it was a safety hazard or they thought there was suspicious behavior in the area," Davis says.

When police do respond to a report, they are now equipped with protective gear to ensure their own and the public's safety.

Lieutenant Jason Carr with the Atascadero Police Department says, "We also have N95 masks and face shields that we can have our officers put on if they are in a situation where they are dealing with someone who is displaying that symptomology."

If there are police officers who come down with the coronavirus, Commander Davis says local departments are in contact with one another and are willing to offer additional staffing if a city is in need.

Since the the shelter at home for San Luis Obispo County and the state is in place, the Paso Robles Police Department says they will continue to their same operations, but will try to encourage people if possible, who are out, to shelter at home after getting their essential needs.