GENESEO – For members of the Geneseo Police Department the COVID-19 pandemic has changed how they do their jobs.
“We are just taking extra precautions but we are still doing our jobs,” said Geneseo Police Chief Eric Osganian.
Those precautions include having the police department’s office closed to the public and trying to handle calls over the phone when they can.
“We are making some adjustments as far as responding to a call that we do not actually have to be at. If we can handle it over the phone we will do that,” said Osganian.
When they do have to respond to calls he says officers make sure they are prepared.
“If we are going to have contact we will put that mask on. The masks are something new to us,” said Osganian.
With the college closed and the fewer people on the roads, Osganian says officers have responded to fewer accidents. Last month, he says there was one accident call, where as before there might have been as many as a dozen accidents.
“Domestics have increased a little. Family trouble stuff like that has increased because people are all home. The calls have remained, it is just the type of calls have changed a little,” said Osganian.
He also said because April was colder than normal fewer people were outside and for the police that made for less crowd control issues. He said they have got some calls from people who are calling about other people not wearing masks but it is not something he said the department is ready to arrest someone for.
“We not ready to wrestle with someone and arrest them for not wearing a mask. I don’t know of someone around here who has been arrested for not wearing a mask,” said Osganian.
As New York State begins the process of lifting the New York on PAUSE, Osganian said the Geneseo Police Department will be ready to adjust to the changes.
“It is a learning period for us. As we need to make adjustments opening up we will do that,” said Osganian.
Like a lot of businesses he says the COVID-19 pandemic has been a challenging time but he says it is not so much the summer that he is worried about but the fall months.
“How the president of the college is going to do things is unclear. Are they coming back or will it be all online classes or a combination of classes,” said Osganian.
With a large number of students coming back at one time, he says maintaining social distancing could be difficult.
“When we have 5,000 kids come back, what happens then? That is our issue, we are worried about the fall because that age population statistically is the hardest to control behavior,” said Osganian.
Before the pandemic fully hit he said his department did get some calls in March about students at the park and come August when the temperatures are warmer, Osganian acknowledged it could be difficult.
“That could be a problem come August or September. We are worried about how to do we handle all this stuff if people do not go by what the governor wants people to go by,” said Osganian.
In the mean time he says his department will continue to follow the orders set forth by Governor Cuomo and adjust the best they can to the changing conditions of the COVID-19 pandemic.