Chief Wahl's Message Regarding COVID-19
COVID-19 and MPD
As our community responds to the COVID-19 pandemic, I thought it important to provide some updates on how the situation is affecting MPD and our service to the community. MPD has been working closely with our City, County and State partners to inform our response, and we will continue to do so moving forward. All components of City government are focusing on COVID-19, and MPD has designated an internal workgroup to work on it full-time. A few updates:
- MPD's primary function – maintaining public safety – is critical, so I am committed to reducing the likelihood that our personnel will be exposed to COVID-19. Officers have been issued personal protective equipment (PPE), which they will utilize as needed. The equipment includes masks, gowns, gloves and eye protection (photos below). Department personnel have also been provided cleaning and disinfectant supplies to keep our facilities and vehicles as clean as possible.
- We are also minimizing the risk of spread within our facilities. Meetings at MPD community rooms have been cancelled, routine fingerprint service is suspended, and civilian ride-alongs are on hold. The MPD Property window at the City-County Building will be available by appointment only by calling 608-266-4955.
- I've instructed our personnel to take reasonable steps to minimize opportunity for exposure during routine work. This includes maintaining social distancing (when feasible), handling incidents/contacts by phone where possible, and curtailing some non-essential proactive work.
- Like other City agencies, we are exploring options for having some of our support personnel work from home.
- State and County orders now prohibit most gatherings of more than 50 people; enforcement of these orders would fall to MPD. If called to an event or gathering in violation of these restrictions, officers will educate the organizer/owner and seek voluntary compliance before any enforcement would be considered. I'm happy to say that this has not been an issue, and the community has been adhering to these orders – thank you.
The response to COVID-19 at the federal, state and local level is unprecedented. While the restrictions put in place undoubtedly create hardship and inconvenience for many, they are necessary to reduce the impact of COVID-19 on our community. MPD is committed to providing public safety and serving the community during this uncertain time. Our district stations are open, and our front-line personnel remain in the field to provide our core services.