Bristol splits police department into 2 separate divisions amid pandemic

BRISTOL, R.I. (WLNE) — The Bristol Police Department has taken some new measures to keep their officers and the public safe.

The department has broken up into 2 separate divisions — north and south — to keep better social distance, and cut back on officer interaction and use of shared spaces.

The northern district is now stationed out of a mobile command center in the parking lot of the Bristol Fire Department, and patrols the area north of Bayview Avenue up to the Warren town line.

The southern district operates out of Police Headquarters on Metacom Avenue, and patrols the area south of Bayview Avenue to the Mt. Hope Bridge.

The Department is also utilizing new technologies like Zoom for role call and staff meetings, and Microsoft Teams to log details and share documents.

“We’ve eliminated the use of paper of any scheduling books that we used prior,” said Sgt. Brian Morse.

All officers are now equipped with PPE kits, which include masks, gloves, hand sanitizer, and face shields if need be.

So far, none of the 40 officers in the department have tested positive for the virus, but in case that should change, they have a back-up plan.  Six recently retired have volunteered to come back on duty if need be.

“They are still functioning officers,” explained Capt. Brian Burke. “They are still able to come back and work in full capacity if needed.”

“They were willing to step up without hesitation when Chief Kevin Lynch asked,” said Capt. Burke.

Supervisors and dispatchers are still working out of Police Headquarters, while patrol officers are split evenly between the two new districts.

Categories: Coronavirus, News, Rhode Island