Coronavirus changing Hamilton police procedures on responses

Hamilton police responded to the corner of South Second and Walnut streets following a report of a person shot on Friday, Nov. 1, 2019. MICHAEL D. CLARK / STAFF
Hamilton police responded to the corner of South Second and Walnut streets following a report of a person shot on Friday, Nov. 1, 2019. MICHAEL D. CLARK / STAFF

Police in Hamilton are now taking reports of some minor incidents by telephone as a way to reduce contact with others during the period of high coronavirus concerns.

Police Chief Craig Bucheit said officers will take reports over the phone when a crime was not witnessed, no suspect is present and there is no evidence to collect.

“In these limited circumstances our officers have been authorized to contact victims by phone and file a report based on the information provided,” Bucheit said.

He gave the example of a bicycle being taken from a yard sometime in the past few hours, with no witness, no suspect, and no physical evidence present.

“Under these circumstances we would have an officer call and make a report for the victim over the phone,” he said.

The policy does not include car crashes, for which officers will continue to respond in person, Bucheit said.

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The temporary change was made because it’s important for the city’s security that Hamilton have enough healthy officers, he said.

“We will continue to actively monitor the situation and make necessary modifications to our operations as needed to ensure continued exceptional and uninterrupted police service for our community,” he said.