Portland Police Chief, Star Thomas, reported on Friday that, “There were only two traffic accidents in March in the city. That is way lower than normal. I think it’s a reflection of fewer people out driving as well as what we’re observing as high compliance to obeying traffic laws and signs.” Last year the Portland Police investigated 125 traffic accidents in the city (an average of 10.4 per month).
“There seemed to be a little confusion on the first day of the Executive Order (March 24th), but then we noticed while patrolling that there has been a dramatic decrease in traffic, and we have been seeing more people outside walking”, Thomas commented. She also stated that her department is not stopping people unnecessarily and “asking to see their papers”, which is a social media rumor that people must have documentation on them from their employer indicating that they are essential and required to travel to work.
The Police Department is operating as normal as possible in the community. There have been a couple of complaints that a few businesses were open that are not considered essential. Chief Thomas shared, “I personally approached one business and spoke to the manager and after a brief discussion they closed and locked their door to the public”. Thomas also commented, “Restaurants that have remained open for take-out and delivery, appear to be operating at a low-risk for exposure and have not reported any problems to the Police Department.”
The Portland Police Department “has been fortunate” in not having any staff out ill. Thomas explained that her officers receive a brief health screen when they come on to their shift, including taking their temperature. They continue to use personal protective equipment (PPE), sanitizing equipment and vehicles, and practicing social distancing as appropriate.
“The sunshine came at the right time today”, Thomas said. “Lot’s of people are out walking. I think it gives people a good psychological boost when they can get outside to exercise, do yard work, and not feel trapped inside their homes.”