Stillwater News

Stillwater Police Implement Procedures to Reduce COVID -19 Risks

Released:Mar 26, 2020

(STILLWATER, OKLAHOMA / March 19, 2020) — Stillwater Police is altering business operations in response to the COVID-19 virus. These changes in operations follow Mayor Joyce’s proclamation declaring a state of emergency, and aims to reduce the risk of illness for both the public and the City’s first responders.

“As always, our goal is to provide the Stillwater community with professional police services,” said Chief of Police Jeff Watts. “These new guidelines enable us to continue providing these services while taking the necessary steps to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Most importantly, we want the public to know that we are here to serve them in this time of need.”

Changes to the police department’s operations are as follows:

  • Officers will take steps to handle calls over the phone, before in-person contact is made. This change is a result of efforts to reduce instances of physical contact, the handling of identification, and close proximity to individuals. Calls that cannot be addressed on the phone will receive attention as usual.
  • Officers will scan drivers licenses with handheld devices during traffic contacts, and will avoid physically handling personal identification if possible. If an officer is unable to scan, the individual will be asked to read information from the license to the officer.
  • Employees who are ill, have been recently exposed to an ill individual, or have recently visited a COVID-19 hot spot will be asked to self-quarantine for 14 days.

Changes to Stillwater City Jail operations:

  • All individuals entering the jail will have their temperature taken and will be surveyed for COVID-19 symptoms and risk.
  • The jail will be routinely cleaned and sanitized in accordance with Center for Disease Control guidelines.
  • Individuals arrested on city charges, such as public intoxication, are eligible for release as soon as they are sober.
  • Individuals brought to the jail on other city charges are bonded out immediately.
  • Officers will not search for those with City warrants unless there are extenuating circumstances. Officers will exercise discretion when encountering an individual with a City warrant.

In addition, officers are using discretion when determining when to make an arrest. Officers will present cases to the District Attorney for an arrest warrant before performing an arrest. Exceptions to these new guidelines include cases of domestic violence, drunk driving and violent crime.

The department is continually reviewing policies and procedures to ensure compliance with national guidelines. For questions concerning the department’s new guidelines, call Public Information Officer Kyle Gibbs at 405.742.8318.

To see the City’s latest information on COVID-19, go to http://stillwater.org/news/view/id/531

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For media inquiries, contact the Department of Marketing and Civic Engagement at 405.742.8219 or email news@stillwater.org.

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