HARRISBURG — Colonel Robert Evanchick, commissioner of the Pennsylvania State Police, announced today a temporary change to the way troopers respond to select non-emergency incidents. With the goal of limiting in-person contact and mitigating the spread of COVID-19, the department has identified certain types of calls that may be resolved with limited or no on-scene response. The change went into effect April 1, 2020 and will remain until further notice.
“To enhance social distancing and keep our personnel and the public safe and healthy, we will begin collecting information via telephone for incidents that do not require an in-person response from a trooper,” said Colonel Evanchick. “This change affects only a limited number of call types, and the public can be confident that the PSP has the personnel, equipment, and plans in place to respond to emergencies and other critical incidents.”
Call types eligible for a modified response include lost and found items, littering, identity theft, and general requests to speak to a trooper. While limiting in-person contact and collecting as much information via telephone is the goal, the actual response will be based on the totality of the circumstances of each unique situation in consultation with a supervisor on duty. State police response protocol to emergencies and crimes in progress remains unchanged.
The department asks the public to be mindful of social distancing if they need to visit their local PSP station. Signs have been posted at each entrance instructing visitors not to enter the facility if they are experiencing symptoms or have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19. Instead, they are instructed to contact the station by phone to speak to a trooper who may come outside to resolve the situation one-on-one if needed.
“Our facilities remain open as a public resource 24 hours a day, seven days a week,” said Colonel Evanchick. “Essential personnel remain ready to assist as needed during this unprecedented public health crisis, and we appreciate the public’s continued support.”