UPDATE: The Tehachapi and Bakersfield Police Departments say they’re accepting all calls, not just emergency calls. However, the departments recommend non-emergency concerns be reported online or over the phone.
Due to the coronavirus, some local law enforcement agencies say they will no longer respond to non-emergency calls in person but instead will just take reports online or by phone.
The Kern County Sheriff’s Office and Delano Police Department said deputies and officers will still respond to life-threatening/emergency calls. They will also still be out in public doing investigations but will limit physical contact with the public for health and safety reasons.
The Bakersfield Police Department said it is not making changes to its protocols when responding to calls and that its lobbies at their Truxtun Avenue headquarters and Buena Vista Road substation will be closed until further notice.
KCSO and TPD said their new policies take effect immediately and are expected to last until further notice. DPD said their policy is only in place through April 1 for now.
“The purpose is to ensure the health and safety of our community as public safety is our number one priority,” KCSO said. “KCSO and other law enforcement agencies have procedures in place to provide mutual aid on a local and state level should a law enforcement agency have staffing issues due to illness.”
The sheriff’s office said it is also suspending visitations to its jails for the “foreseeable future,” but attorney visits will still be allowed.
The Delano Police Department said the front lobby will be closed to the public.
The agencies said they are also canceling participation in all community events at least through the month of March. All civilian ride-a-longs will be canceled as well.
The Shafter Police Department said it is monitoring the coronavirus situation and have not changed response protocols as of now but could change with little notice. The department also asked people who have traveled to affected areas or if they are not feeling well to not enter the police department’s lobby. You can call the department at 661-746-8500.