CHICAGO — Top cop Charlie Beck on Tuesday said a decrease in traffic and people stops, low-level arrests and a 30 percent decline in 911 calls is proof Chicagoans are following the statewide stay-at-home order to slow the spread of the new coronavirus.
“All of this indicates to me that people are doing what we ask,” Beck said. “That they are staying home. That they are, by and large, creating good social distancing. That our police officers are only focusing on things that have a direct impact on pubic safety, and making sure that we all get through this together.”
Police have had to break up groups of people congregating in violation of the stay-at-home order. But as of Tuesday, Chicago police have not arrested anyone for violating the statewide order. Beck said has directed officers who encounter people violating the order to first educate them on the law, warn them twice and, if needed, call a supervisor to decide what action to take.
“The bottom line is we don’t want to arrest people for doing things that, before last week, would have been legal unless we absolutely have to, unless we are sure that they understand the severity of the violation that they’re committing,” he said. “So, far people have been good about that. Will that continue? We will see. But I know Chicago P.D. is ready for that. We’ve never had an issue with making arrests.”
Fire Commissioner Richard Ford II said the city’s first responders are equipped with the personal protective gear they need to stay safe during the COVID-19 crisis.
“While this pandemic is unlike anything our city has ever faced, we are prepared,” Ford said.
Five fire department employees have tested positive for COVID-19. Ford said they are all doing well and recovering at home. As of Tuesday, police reported six department employees have been diagnosed with the new coronavirus.
The fire commissioner said all firefighters and paramedics responding to calls have specially designed personal protective gear to keep them safe. The department also has circulated new training videos related to the proper use of protective gear.
“We’re not only protecting ourselves when we use this equipment properly. But we protect our families and the public as well,” Ford said. “The well-being of our members and, in turn, their family is my No. 1 priority.”