Full-time work, part-time instruction in the time of COVID
- Thursday, May 28th, 2020
COVID-19 has affected everyone across the globe, including Bowling Green. Penny Bowles, Deputy Chief with the Bowling Green Police Department (BGPD) and instructor in the Department of Sociology & Criminology, discusses how the pandemic has affected the way the BGPD operates, and the effect COVID-19 has had on the Bowling Green community.
The BGPD has made several changes in response to the pandemic. The building is closed to the public, and some interior offices have been closed, but Dispatch and Records are allowing entry into their respective offices. Staff has been adamant about cleaning all surfaces in the building. Officers have moved their daily briefs from in-person to online or open-air meetings. There have been operational changes made as well, such as moving reports to call in or online. Cadets and detectives are being utilized to respond to citizens by phone, and to make reports. Officers responding to non-injury collisions now are giving the involved parties a form to fill out and mail in at their convenience.
We verify licenses, proof of insurance and license plate information then give the form with instructions. This minimizes our exposure time with the public. Our priority is not to be a carrier and pass the virus on to others. Officers are also sanitizing often, and they have access to masks along with shields and respirators.
Regarding changes in the community, there has been a decline in vehicle collisions.
Bowles cites the decrease in traffic as the principal reason. During the period of business closure, BGPD has experienced a decrease in business-related services, such as alarm calls. There has been some good news regarding domestic abuse. “We expected family disturbance and domestic related calls to increase significantly, however, no real change.” Bowles said.
There also has been a concern for children, but Bowles said that there has been no increase in Social Services calls. In order to check the welfare of children, schools are delivering food to homes every week. Bowles said there have been positive outcomes from this experience.
We are told by city officials our city is running smoother than expected. The dedication of city employers not only to their jobs, but the citizens of Bowling Green is amplified due to the increase in communication among those working from home. We believe the plan not only worked, but could be used as an example for future issues.
In addition to her role with BGPD, Bowles is also teaching a class at WKU for the first time.
This being my first semester teaching, I was just adapting to teaching the class in-person only to then have to reassess and learn to teach on-line, at the same time we were making plans for the PD and city response. It was a very hectic time. I just kept telling myself to do the best I can for my students and officers.
BGPD and Deputy Chief Bowles exemplify some of the excellent services and professionals Bowling Green has to offer— WKU students are fortunate to be able to learn from such an accomplished community leader.