Danville police ending proactive patrol

Published 10:50 am Friday, March 20, 2020

Note: The Advocate-Messenger is providing its coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic threat completely free to everyone without the need to subscribe. We believe it is vitally important that everyone have as much reliable, trustworthy information about this crisis as possible. If you would like to support journalism and help The Advocate-Messenger continuing providing important information during this crisis and the next, you can subscribe here.

Chief says limiting exposure of responders important during pandemic

In an effort to protect first responders, Danville Police Department has discontinued its proactive patrol effective immediately. Chief Tony Gray said, “Self-initiated stops — we’re not going to go out there running license plates for expiration, making traffic stops for turn signals; things like that.” 

Gray said rest assured, though — this is no free pass for anyone in the mood to push the limits. Patrol will still be paying attention to vehicles who are driving recklessly or otherwise endangering the welfare of citizens. 

Email newsletter signup

“If someone’s going 100 miles an hour, possible DUIs, those types of thing that are jeopardizing others, we’ll still be responding to it.” 

The decision was made to limit the force’s exposure to others.

“It will be a balance,” Gray said, referring to the decision-making behind each call. “Is it something putting other citizens at danger, if and if it’s worth stopping someone for.” 

The chief said responses will be “evaluated as we go.” He said some policing areas in other cities are taking more extreme measures. “In some places, they’re not even responding, when they’ve got confirmed infection rates,” referring to non-in-progress calls. 

“Eventually, as this thing continues to evolve and unfold, if our infection rate grows, we’ll have to worry about the safety of our personnel, making sure that we limit our exposure so we can continue to respond as necessary.” 

Gray encouraged citizens to use the non-emergency number as opposed to 911 when necessary. “If they need to talk to an officer, that line is 24-hours a day. That’s the best route if they need to talk to us about making a report, whether we need to respond or how to go about something.” 

That number is (859) 238-1220. 

Accident reports and other non-emergency requests are being done via email and fax, already. 

“But we will still be visible. We will be out patrolling certain stores and groceries, doing our walk-throughs,” Gray said. “We will be visible, but practicing our social-distancing skills at the same time.”

The City of Danville has also set up an emergency operations center in the basement of city hall, a large room normally used for trainings and other gatherings. It’s set up with wiring and computers, as well as a few snacks for any upcoming long nights.

So far, Gray said, they haven’t had to fully “activate” it yet, but it’s ready to go when they need it.