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Bozeman PD continues adjusting to COVID-19 challenges while on the job

Posted at 11:53 AM, Oct 22, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-22 13:53:59-04

People working in all different kinds of professional fields have been forced to adjust due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

But the Bozeman Police Department says adaptability is the name of the game, before COVID-19 and now.

“We’re used to making constant adjustments regarding how we handle ourselves on a daily basis because every call we go to is different,” said Bozeman Police Department’s interim chief Jim Veltkamp.

While many working professionals have seen some major changes in the workplace since the pandemic started, Bozeman PD says their job is to work around constantly changing conditions.

“I think initially it was harder, mainly because of the unknowns,” said Veltkamp.

“Just through the fact that there’s more knowledge about the virus right now, we have a better idea of what exact types of steps to take to keep ourselves healthy and safe.”

But there have been some specific changes:

“The distancing guidelines have gone up for us since that’s become a more prevalent thing, masks, we certainly require masks in appropriate situations. If you’re outside and able to maintain social distancing, we don’t require masks but we require officers to do it in any situation where there’s an indication of a problem or if they go inside of a building.”

Interim Chief Veltkamp says the biggest change is the way in which officers interact with people in the community.

“Definitely those calls where we have to get in closer contact with somebody, if you come in physical contact, those are certainly more difficult than some other call.” said Veltkamp.

MTN News asked Bozeman PD if there have been any cases of COVID-19 in the department, and what’s the protocol if officers do get sick?

“We’ve been able to work around anything that has happened already, I really can’t go into clear specifics for obvious reasons,” said Veltkamp.

“But we have had to certainly change how we’re doing things to try and minimize the risk at times, and as we all have experienced in the community, there are incidents that pop up everywhere and we’ve had to work through it on a case by case basis.”