A Letter from the Chief of Police
To Our Community:
A Letter from Fayetteville Police Chief Mike Reynolds
In the last several days our President, our Governor and our Mayor have all declared a public health emergency, and the World Health Organization has declared the COVID-19 Novel Coronavirus a pandemic. Although there are no known positive cases of coronavirus in Fayetteville, we must be proactive and take precautions now to mitigate the spread of the virus in our community. Out of an abundance of caution, the Fayetteville Police Department is implementing minor adjustments in our operating procedures to ensure we can continue to provide the safety and core services our community has come to not only expect, but to depend on. In order to accomplish these goals, we must protect the health and well-being of the public and our police officers.
According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), social distancing is believed to be one of the most effective methods of preventing the spread of COVID-19. In an effort to prevent the introduction and/or the spread of the virus, and to ensure the safety of our community and our employees, the Fayetteville Police Department is following CDC guidelines, and we have implemented the following temporary plan:
- Many non-violent and misdemeanor reports can be made online with no waiting. A free copy of the report can be printed at the time the report is made. These reports include, but are not limited to: crime tips, criminal mischief, theft, harassing communications, illegal dumping, littering, lost property and information reports. Complete instructions can be found at: https://www.fayetteville-ar.gov/248/Online-Police-Reporting-System.
- Effective immediately, many non-violent criminal reports will only be taken by telephone. These reports include, but are not limited to: criminal mischief, theft, harassing communications, illegal dumping, littering, lost property, identity theft, computer/phone/mail scams, and delayed assault, battery, burglary and breaking or entering reports. Reports can be made with a live Fayetteville Police Department employee at: 479-587-3555. Take Option 1 to speak to an operator who can assist you.
- Our Central Dispatch Center is asking more questions to collect a wider range of information from callers to better prepare officers who are responding to calls. This is being done so officers can take more proactive steps; it will not affect officers’ response to calls for service.
- Officers may ask community members to meet them outside of homes and businesses where appropriate in order to practice social distancing.
- Officers have been issued personal protective equipment, and they may be seen wearing gloves, face masks, protective eyewear and clothing. This is especially true in medical testing environments and/or in environments known to have increased risk of illness. Officers may ask community members to wear surgical face masks if they are showing signs of illness.
- The Fayetteville Police Department attempts to utilize alternatives to arrest when possible, and we are working with the Washington County Sheriff’s Office to screen arrestees and employees who may be entering the detention center facilities. This is to reduce the risk of introducing and/or spreading the virus in the detention center environment.
- Our community outreach and scheduled community events have been suspended for the next thirty days. Please contact our Community Oriented Policing Division at 479-587-3580 for guidance if you have a scheduled event.
- We have temporarily suspended agency tours and ride-along programs.
- We are regularly sanitizing our facilities and our vehicles in an attempt to keep our employees and citizens safe.
On behalf of the men and women of the Fayetteville Police Department, I want to reassure you that public safety is our number one priority; it always has been, and it always will be. The Fayetteville Police Department continues to work with our local, state and federal partners to provide the best possible service and response to our community.
We will continue to be a 24-hour, full-service police department, and we will always be here to serve you. Our quality of service and professionalism will continue at the highest level, and only the manner in which we conduct business will change temporarily as we utilize social distancing to slow the spread of COVID-19. We are committed to protecting the health and well-being of the public and our officers and to taking every possible step to ensure we are not unknowingly spreading the virus to vulnerable populations by the very nature of our job.
Chief of Police