By Jensen, Randy on April 2, 2020.
Lethbridge Chief of Police Scott Woods is asking the public to follow all Public Health Act expectations of them while the COVID-19 pandemic continues so his officers will not have to enforce public health orders.
“From a policing standpoint, enforcement is one of the last things we want to do (in this pandemic),” says Woods. “We are hoping the people of Lethbridge and this fine community are going to do the right thing, step up, and let’s not make this a police matter. Let’s do the right things, and follow the directions and orders of the experts out there.”
Police have been authorized by the province to give out tickets starting at $1,000 for those who refuse to remain in quarantine if told to do so by Alberta Health Services, and for those refusing to comply with restrictions on public gatherings.
“People need to realize this is a very serious issue, and it is a very contagious disease,” he says. “So we need to take that seriously, and people need to understand this is extremely serious.”
Woods also asks residents to follow the proper process if they have a public health complaint. Instead of calling 911, use the website AHS has set up to deal with incoming complaints, he says.
“The message we want to get out is just follow the system that’s in place, and that starts with Alberta Health Services,” states Woods. “We don’t want to be tying up our lines with this if we do not need to, or it can be dealt with in other ways through Alberta Health Services.”
“The current process is you lodge a complaint though the Alberta Health link. They will have a quick look at it, assess it, and there may be some steps taken by them to resolve it informally. If not, and they need police involvement, they contact us, it goes into our call centre where we can triage and have a quick look at it. And then we will determine the action from there.”
Woods also reminds residents who may be feeling ill or who have been ordered into quarantine that if they need the police service to inform officers prior to them coming on scene so officers can take appropriate steps and use proper medical gear to avoid direct potential exposure to COVID-19.
The AHS website set up to deal with public health complaints related to COVID-19 can be found at ephisahs.microsoftcrmportals.com/create-case/.
As of Wednesday there have been no public health complaints related to coronavirus lodged with the Lethbridge Police Service, Woods confirms.
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