Policing During the Coronavirus Pandemic

Officer+Jason+Ripp%27s+police+cruiser

Michael Schlott

Officer Jason Ripp's police cruiser

Michael Schlott, Reporter

Everyone’s lives have changed because of the Coronavirus Pandemic, but, I wanted to know what changes police officers are going through during these hard times. I interviewed Plymouth Township Officer Jason Ripp who’s been a Police Officer for almost 13 years, to see how the Police Officer’s job has changed due to the Coronavirus. 

According to Officer Ripp, ”The job has changed drastically, meaning that our orders right now are ‘no self-initiated activities’”.  This means that anything that requires contact with the officer only happens when it HAS to happen.  Officer Ripp stated, “Self-initiated traffic enforcement has been reduced to limit the chance of contacting someone that may have the virus. Calls for service that do not require an Officer to be present, such as identity theft, credit/debit card fraud, or misc legal and general questions, we will handle over the phone or the person has the option to file the report themselves on the Plymouth Township website.”

Officer Ripp says he also has to take many precautionary measures like putting on a surgical mask and gloves and sanitizing the car before, after, and throughout his shift, depending on the situation. Officer Ripp says contact is minimal now. He also stated, “If you call and request Police to come to your house for any reason, dispatch needs to get some background information on the situation, like if the injured had a fever two weeks ago or he just fell, then we classify the situation as Negative for COVID environment or positive for COVID environment.”

Officer Ripp stated, ”If there was something he could influence change in, it would be the publics’ outlook on Police Officers. The Police are often thought of as bullies who give tickets and harass the public for no reason. We are called to be the referee in family disputes when people are fighting with each other. A Police Officer has to be a good listener to those that need to be heard, a teacher to those that need a lesson, an authoritative figure to keep peace and order, and a friend to those in the community that we serve and protect. We see people during the worst of their times and have to make split-second decisions that the public will criticize because they may disagree with it.”

Officer Ripp says that his favorite part of the job is, “Mingling with people in the community because I grew up here and know a lot of people from around the area.” Officer Ripp enjoys driving around and talking to people more than doing traffic stops.