NYC Police Must Deal With Many ‘Dead-on-Arrival’ Calls

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“One of our biggest issues is dead-on-arrival calls,” New York Police Chief of Department Terry Monahan tells Chuck Wexler of the Police Executive Research Forum. Monahan says that during the coronavirus pandemic, “So many people are dying at home that it’s taking our medical examiner’s office 12 to 24 hours to get to a location and remove a body. We have to sit on that location until the medical examiner can get there, and we have about 150 or more of those calls per day. Those calls are starting to be a significant staffing demand.”

Monahan says that 18 percent of uniformed NYC officers are out sick, and the department is bringing back about 100 officers daily who had flu-like symptoms. The department allows any members in higher-risk groups to work from home. Courts are closed and cases aren’t moving forward, so narcotics officers are back in uniform on patrol. All officers are being given masks. If an officer is in a car with their partner, they should both wear masks so they don’t infect each other, Monahan says. Calls for service are down 25 percent, with no one out on the street in Manhattan. In general, he says, “We’re spending the vast majority of our time enforcing social distancing. We drive our cars into parks and play pre-recorded messages that encourage social distancing. We don’t want to write summonses for social distancing, but if people don’t obey, we may have to start writing a few more.”

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