Following a state and public health order issued to help slow the spread of COVID-19 across California, Police Chief Andrew Mills outlines what it means for the City of Santa Cruz's residents and businesses.
The Santa Cruz Police will seek out businesses that appear to violate this Public Health Order and individuals who are grouping. Generally, SCPD issues warnings. If compliance not achieved, a criminal citation will be issued. We do not take this enforcement stance lightly. The COVID-19 pandemic is a serious community health threat, and the Public Health Order is enforceable.
The Santa Cruz Police Department's (SCPD) primary role in supporting the governor's stay at home order is to help educate the community about how to comply. Most residents are following the "Safer at Home" order, which allows essential businesses and critical public functions to remain open, but directs most other people to stay home and avoid gatherings.
Non-essential businesses that remain open and individuals who gather in groups place the community-at-large at risk. "Ideally, we would prefer to gain the public's cooperation and avoid unnecessary enforcement," said Chief Mills. If we work together, we will accomplish the goal of keeping our community safe. "
In response to mandates and to better protect closed local businesses, the Santa Cruz Police Department officers check on businesses to educate and ensure compliance. SCPD also deployed burglary suppression units to increase patrols, particularly during nighttime shifts.
Chief Andy Mills - "Our command strategy is to implement 12-hour shifts to enhance officer availability. The added patrols increase the nighttime staffing numbers and will concentrate on retail and commercial areas of the City while responding to all calls for service.
Chief Mills addresses those individuals who may be thinking and planning on taking advantage of our hardworking community members who had to close down their shops or suspend services. We are working with the District Attorney to ensure criminals are held accountable during this state of emergency.
While the Santa Cruz Police Department is increasing our nighttime visibility in business and commercial districts, we ask business owners to help by:
· Keep your business lit at night, inside and out.
· Keep windows uncovered and free of obstruction.
· Make sure alarms, and video surveillance systems are working correctly and contact SCPD immediately regarding any suspicious activity.
· Empty cash registers and make it evident to others that they are empty by leaving them open with the drawers removed.
"Public health and safety remain paramount, and we ask residents to stay informed and follow the emergency measures outlined by the state and the City," said Chief Mills.
For information regarding COVID-19 cases and directives from Santa Cruz County Public Health officials, please visit http://www.santacruzhealth.org/coronavirus.
For the latest information about the COVID-19 virus, updates on the City's operations, and our response to COVID-19, visit http://www.cityofsantacruz.com/coronavirus.