MINNEAPOLIS (FOX 9) - Minneapolis police are rolling out a new initiative to help with call volumes while protecting their department from getting COVID-19.
Starting Tuesday, Minneapolis police will be handling non-emergency calls at a new call center. If a resident calls 911 with a non-violent service call, like a bike or package theft, breaking into a car or damage to property, the call will be re-routed to the new center.
Officers will be answering those calls instead of dispatchers. It's one way to minimize face-to-face interaction with the public to prevent the spread of COVID-19 to first responders. So far, no one within the police department has been diagnosed with the virus.
While police officers try to protect themselves and their families, they still have a very important job to do. In fact, certain calls like domestic-related problems are up more than three times compared to this time last year. However, if the situation seems like it's getting dangerous for the caller, they will send out a squad.
"If our dispatchers, in speaking with a caller, believe that a squad should go out they will send a squad,” said Minneapolis Police Spokesman John Elder. “A threat, a danger, something the caller is not comfortable with, we will send a squad out."
The new call center will be open Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.