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The original item was published from 3/29/2020 1:10:00 PM to 9/4/2020 1:49:58 PM.



Posted on: March 27, 2020

[ARCHIVED] Police response during COVID-19 pandemic

Stay Home Save Lives Order Response

People are asking questions about enforcement of the Governor’s Stay Home Save Lives order. Eugene Police’s response is similar to the responses of Oregon State Police, Oregon Association Chiefs of Police and Oregon State Sheriff’s Association:

EPD prefers to gain compliance by educating people who are not following the governor’s orders. It is not our intent at this point, that officers be proactively seeking out violators unless the behavior appears egregious in nature. While for the most part, any response will be complaint driven, we wish to keep our 911 call takers and officers going to life/safety calls. Officers can issue warnings. Citations and arrests are our last resort.

We believe Eugene’s residents are compassionate and will be making every effort they can to safeguard our community’s health. Peer pressure is a powerful motivator and people may choose to self-educate their friends and neighbors. Please note: The governor’s order is a legally enforceable. Failure to comply with the Executive Order would be considered an immediate danger to public health. If there were to be a citation or arrest, it is a Class C misdemeanor (up to 30 days in jail, a fine of up to $1,250, or both).

We all working with all our other city partners and the community to help slow COVID-19’s spread. And, we are taking care of our employees.

How We are Responding

Our community’s safety is our main focus and as a City Department we will maintain essential services, support our partners, and continue to reinforce the importance of following Lane County Public Health’s advisories.

We are making sure our workforce stays healthy so we can continue serving the community. By keeping ourselves healthy, we help reduce the spread of disease and ensure we are adequately staffed for public safety response.

What We Are Doing

  • We will continue to respond to emergency calls for service, in progress crimes, other high priority life/safety issues, and incidents that require evidence gathering. This will not change
  • Our public expects us to adjust our operations to ensure the safety and health of our first responders. We will communicate any operational changes to individuals when they call in to our non-emergency line for low-level service calls.
  • As always, individuals can report vandalism/criminal mischief, theft, hit and run (non injury), and other non-emergency crime or suspicious activity can be reported online:
  • We are suspending meetings and public events, temporarily closing facilities to public entry, and modifying some face-to-face services to help reduce the spread of COVID-19 in Eugene. This includes:
    • Suspending ride-alongs and the use of the Kilcullen Conference Room by the public
    • Limiting entry to the secure portions of our headquarters at 300 Country Club, Central Lane 911, and other locations to employees and critical/essential business visitors only
    • Ensuring there are personal protective equipment for patrol officers and that we are all following cleaning guidelines for vehicles and facilities, as well as using good hygienic practices as outlined by Lane County Public Health
    • Working with our partners, such as CAHOOTS, to ensure we are coordinating plans
    • Modifying services for the EPD Front Counter: all in-person services will be suspended, except for the following: Vehicle Impound Release; Pet Fix-It Tickets (no other licensing at this time); Bail and Mail/package delivery. For these services, the public can pick up the black phone in the lobby and dial 5131. The Red Phone is still available to call dispatch.
    • Public Records requests can be submitted through fax (541.682.6804) or mail (300 Country Club Road, Eugene, Oregon). There are forms online:

All of these efforts help slow the spread of COVID-19. By slowing the spread, we can preserve our health care capacity which will be critical in the coming weeks. These actions also help protect people who may be at higher risk - people over 60 and those with pre-existing respiratory, cardiac conditions, or who are immuno-compromised. We can all help reduce the impact of COVID-19 in our community.

Eugene Police Facts Regarding Camping Enforcement

Eugene Police has received calls regarding homeless camps being shut down. This is a serious misconception. Here are the facts regarding any enforcement of camping while we are responding to concerns of the COVID-19 pandemic and observing the “Stay Home, Save Lives” Executive Order:

Consistent with the Center for Disease Control guidelines, the City’s approach is intended to control the spread of COVID-19 through social distancing and hygiene, while providing critical services to people who are homeless.

City of Eugene staff including Eugene Police Department are committed to supporting people experiencing homelessness, including ensuring access to food and water, hygiene and sanitation resources, healthcare, and shelter.

Many homeless people are trying to observe social distancing and have set up safer spaces for themselves. This is being accommodated as long as it can be done safely and doesn’t become a private property trespass, constitute criminal behavior, or pose a significant health and safety issue that out-weighs the need for the individuals to stay in that place.

If it is necessary for City of Eugene staff to engage in camping enforcement due to the above factors, we have a team in place to

coordinate this. If appropriate, staff may recommend relocation to a designated shelter site.

City staff will continue to clean up illegal dumpsites and abandoned camps as staffing resources and safety equipment allow.

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