Changes In Police Response Amid Coronavirus Outbreak

Tim Moran

This article originally appeared on the Chicago Heights Patch

CHICAGO HEIGHTS, IL — Like in other towns, a few temporary protocol changes are in place at the Chicago Heights Police Department amid the current coronavirus pandemic. Most noticeably, changes have been made in how the department's dispatch center handles 911 emergency calls.

Those who call the 911 police dispatch center will be asked a series of questions related to the coronavirus outbreak before they can report an emergency, Chicago Heights Police Chief Thomas Rogers said.

"The purpose is to obtain information that is vital for dispatching emergency response and it is the protocol in place for response during the outbreak of COVID-19," Rogers said. "Please be patient, respond to the questions and allow our Emergency Dispatch to obtain the necessary information."

However, Rogers said police will continue to serve the community "without hesitation or reservation."

The lobby at the police station will remain open, but people should call dispatch first and avoid coming into the lobby if they have been experience flu-like symptoms or have traveled outside the United States within the past 14 days.

Non-emergency reports will be taken by telephone. The non-emergency number is 708-756-6400.

"I am confident that we will overcome this challenge by staying informed, remaining patient and following direction from medical professionals, the Cook County Department of Public Health, the Illinois Department of Public Health, and the U.S. Center for Disease Control," Rogers said.

In Illinois, 19 deaths related to the coronavirus and nearly 2,000 cases have been reported as of March 26

Don't miss local and statewide news about coronavirus developments and precautions. Sign up for Patch alerts and daily newsletters.