While residents and businesses navigate the new reality that COVID-19 has forced upon the state, Oakdale Police Chief Scott Heller said he is seeing a generally cooperative and coordinated effort in keeping people safe.
His officers are also adhering to some new protocols, as are fire and emergency services personnel.
“We’re continuing to follow the protocols we have in place, social distancing and wearing gloves and other protective equipment,” Heller said on Tuesday. “We’re trying to educate the public as well, remind them that when they do have to go out for essentials, to maintain that social distance of six feet, do their part and voluntarily comply with the statewide ‘stay at home’ order.”
All City of Oakdale facilities are closed to public access until further notice. City staff will be available by phone and email to assist the public with any questions. For more information on how to access City services, visit www.oakdalegov.com.
“It feels as though most folks are trying to work together,” added Heller. “We are also partnering with businesses that are open, grocery stores and essential businesses, stopping by to check on them, also keeping an eye on those businesses that are closed.”
Heller said they are also handling complaints on a “case by case” basis if there are concerns about businesses that appear to be operating outside of the recommended state guidelines.
A central email set up to report violations of the State Stay at Home Order in Stanislaus County is currently: HSA-COVIDfirstname.lastname@example.org.
The county is also putting together a joint information center that will serve as a clearing house, he said, providing information from the city, county and state levels.
“Our employees continue to employ specific protective protocol consistent with first responder training and policies in response to the COVID-19 Event,” Heller added.
Some of these measures include:
• Continue to use proper protective equipment when dealing with those known or believed to be infected;
• Avoiding enclosed spaces where possible;
• Avoiding person-to-person contact whenever practical, maintaining appropriate distance;
• Encouraging non-dispatch employees not to enter the 911 Communications Center unless absolutely necessary;
• Alternatives for records staff who have direct contact with community members such as phone service only, online, or serving members of the public in the open-air parking lot rather than the enclosed lobby;
• Having hand sanitizer and disinfecting wipes constantly available;
• Canceling non-essential meetings;
• Holding meetings in a virtual fashion allowing participates to meet remotely;
• Consideration of allowing some non-essential staff to work from home as an alternative.
None of these measures are meant to limit or dissuade necessary proactive policing efforts.
“We’re focusing on education and voluntary compliance at this time,” the chief explained. “We’re fortunate to be in the community of Oakdale, a tight knit community where everybody rallies around. We encourage everyone to voluntarily comply with the stay at home order; it’s in everyone’s best interests as we work to flatten that curve.”
The chief also said residents can be assured that officers will respond if they have a need for service.
For the latest COVID-19 information provided by local Public Health Officials, follow StanEmergency on Facebook or visit the StanEmergency website.