Local law enforcement limiting some access during pandemic

Both Columbus police and Bartholomew County deputies are announcing changes to how they will interact with the public during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The agencies are reporting that officers may respond to your call in protective gear. They are also saying that non-emergency calls such as minor accidents or theft reports will be taken by telephone without an officer being sent to the scene. All emergency calls or reports of serious crimes will be handled by officers in person. Both agencies are also canceling fingerprinting services.

You can also expect officers to refrain from shaking hands or other unnecessary physical contact. And you may be asked to step out of a building or residence so conversations can be held in open air instead of confined spaces.

Hope Police Department announced changes last week in reaction to the virus outbreak. The department is limiting access to its offices. While the lobby will remain open, no unauthorized personnel, including members of the public, will be allowed to travel beyond the lobby. The department also anticipated limiting some of the administrative services it provides, such as fingerprinting services and handgun permits.