As various businesses are able to re-open their doors in the community and are putting their best foot forward to safeguard their employees’ and customers’ health during the coronavirus pandemic, Bellefontaine Police Chief Brandon Standley wrote a letter to these various local establishments this week to encourage them in their efforts and let them know the police department supports their work.
“’We Trust You’ is my message to all Bellefontaine businesses and their customers,” he wrote. “We trust that you are doing what you can to satisfy the varying levels of restrictions at your place of business. We also know that you have worked hard to satisfy these requirements and educated your employees.”
He related that the police department wants to be used as a resource to assist local businesses, and not be an impediment to success.
“Our community policing model has never been about getting in the way, but just the opposite. We would much rather stand with you and work through the tough times.
“We’re in the business of ‘Trust But Verify’ because that’s what our role is through most of any type of emergency or investigation.”
While business picks up during the summertime and increasing numbers of customers frequent area restaurants and retail stores, it is inevitable that the police department will receive more phone calls with customers worried that a business might not be complying with health orders.
“They may choose to call the police department to report their concern,” Chief Standley said. “If that happens, rest assured that a supervisor will be in contact with your manager, or you personally to help offset whatever concern that is.
“Since no one can predict all human behavior, our jobs often change on a dime. That’s when our training and professionalism are normally put to the test.
“The last thing we want to do is to respond to your business and become uncooperative. Instead, we will find ways to simply bring it to your attention and hope that you correct whatever it is that prompted our visit.”
The police chief if a visit to a business occurs, it could prompt a typed report if something is substantiated as a possible violation of the current COVID-19 orders in Ohio.
From there, the process would include a review by upper command in the police department and then the report may be sent to the Logan County Health District for review.
“If something is determined to be egregious, the report may be sent to the prosecutor for review,” he said. “This does not mean someone would be cited, it just means a review will be done to determine if someone should be charged.”
“The Bellefontaine Police Department will do whatever we can to accommodate the existing factors upon our visit to gain a better solution together. Last resort would be to file something with the prosecutor, and that would be after consult with the Health Department.
In most instances, the police chief said these processes would not be necessary, as a manager would have already taken care of a potential problem “before we would ever arrive, if they’re aware of it.”
Chief Standley said his staff also are available to address any potential problems that might arise by contacting a supervisor at 599-1010.
“We’re anxious, as you are, to get moving in the right direction. We can’t wait to hear the positive stories this coming week and know that you’ll all do very well,” he concluded.