COVID-19’s Impact on Local Law Enforcement

Lieutenant+Matthew+Brennan+and+Chief+Lisa+Myers+fight+the+front+line+of+COVID19.

Mary Brennan

Lieutenant Matthew Brennan and Chief Lisa Myers fight the front line of COVID19.

Catherine Brennan, Writer

Since the Novel Coronavirus reached Maryland, a variety of things have changed. From healthcare to restaurants and everything in between, the impact is noticeable in our community. Law enforcement has been particularly impacted by this pandemic. 

 

The first cases in Maryland were reported in Montgomery County, where three people had contracted the virus overseas. 

 

“All of us heard of this thing going on in China…and eventually it hits the west coast… and before you know it, the entire nation is preparing for something that none of us really see,” explained Captain Robert Lehman, the head of emergency management in the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office.  

 

Preparation in Montgomery County began when the first cases were reported, and involved the use of personal protective equipment (PPE) such as masks and gloves. This is similar to many other police departments in Maryland, such as Howard County. 

 

In Howard County, the police department has taken steps to protect the officers, as well as the public. They use PPE when responding to calls when victims or suspects are potentially infected and practice social distancing during all other encounters with the public, as well as fellow officers. In addition, HCPD has begun to take non-violent, non-emergency calls over the phone, where they would have responded to them in the past.

 

In both the MCSO and HCPD, there has been a noticeable decline in calls for service involving non-violent crimes and car collisions, which make up a large percentage of their calls. Less people are going out on the roads to do their daily activities, so there are less crashes. 

 

“However, calls for things like domestic violence issues, that kind of thing, has gone up, because people are locked up in the house together, and alcohol is often involved,” stated Lieutenant Matthew Brennan from the Howard County Police Department. 

 

Despite the difficulties everyone is facing, spirits are still high among those in law enforcement. There is some frustration that they aren’t able to do proactive policing, but overall they are focused on keeping the public safe, even though the current situation is difficult.

 

“We have to keep moving forward because that’s what we do,” reassured Captain Lehman.

 

Law enforcement is reminding citizens to follow the stay at home orders Governor Hogan has issued in order to protect those at risk, and flatten the curve. They are working for the good of the public and are pressing on to do just that.