East Hampton town police are adjusting to the new normal created by the COVID-19 pandemic.
More complaints are being handled over the phone, when possible, Chief Michael Sarlo said. In cases where officers are helping emergency medical technicians on a call, only one officer will go into a home, unless the situation is critical, the chief said.
In general, the guidelines for officers responding to a call is to “not go inside a residence unless there are extreme exigent circumstances,” he said. “There are specific questions our dispatch officers are asking all callers, which we want everyone to know are important in protecting responders in all situations.”
Certain types of proactive patrols have been reduced, Sarlo said, and sanitizing vehicles and police headquarters itself is being done on a regular basis. Dispatch officers in the East Hampton town and village police departments are flagging calls for officers where it is believed a resident has tested positive for COVID-19.
Currently, arraignments on arrests made in East Hampton are being handled in a centralized location — the Suffolk County District Court in Central Islip. The East Hampton Town Police Department is working with the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office and the court system on what to do with weekend arraignments. The goal, the chief said, is to “establish remote video arraignment procedures, which we hope will be up and running this week.”
Most staffers have been asked to stay away from headquarters, with the building in Wainscott essentially closed.
“We are also asking the public to use common sense and don’t call 911 unnecessarily,” Sarlo said. “Think about what they really need to make a report for at the time, and what can probably wait.”