Buffalo Police say COVID-19 cases in the ranks inevitable, crime down


BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — It was quiet Tuesday afternoon at Buffalo Police headquarters, but for the occasional drop off of supplies to slow the spread of coronavirus through its rank and file.

On Monday, the BPD confirmed it’s first case, and there could be more. Like many essential services still on the clock in person, it was just a matter of time before the coronavirus found its way inside.

“Police work, just like fire work, is a personal contact industry, but the majority of our officers have been able to adjust how we do things,” said Capt. Jeffrey Rinaldo.

The BPD has been ready for weeks, and they’re continuing to operate under new protocols.

  • Low-priority responses are now done over the phone.
  • Officers practice safe distancing when they’re able on in-person calls.
  • They’ve enhanced screening at central booking.
  • Non essential employees are working from home.
  • Training has been suspended.
  • Daily shift briefing are held in open areas.
  • Common areas are disenfected often with bleech and water.

One benefit of this situation, police say, is that crime is down across the city. On average, the BPD answers approximately 800 calls a day. That’s been down to as low as 500 per day for several days.

“Crime tends to follow commerce. Crimes of opportunity occur in commercial areas. They occur when there’s a lot of people out, a lot of cars in parking lots, a lot of people on the street,” Rinaldo said. “When you don’t have those situations, it has an impact on the number of crimes that are occurring.”

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