The Journal Gazette
Thursday, March 26, 2020 1:00 am

City safety forces' crisis plans kick in

Eric Lahey and Steve Reed

We are fortunate to live and work in a community that values caring for one another and understands the vital role public safety plays in our lives each day.

During this COVID-19 crisis we are experiencing here and across the state, country, and world, the health and well-being of every citizen is the top priority of the City of Fort Wayne's Public Safety Division and the 911 Consolidated Communications Partnership.

Rest assured, we are prepared.

The Fort Wayne Police Department has 464 police officers and 16 recruits-in-training protecting and serving residents, neighborhoods and businesses, and we are ready to respond to any emergency. All protocols and policies to respond to this crisis are in place. We have contingency plans for all scenarios.

FWPD officers have the proper personal protective equipment, and we frequently update officers and staff on all of the latest COVID-19 information.

In addition, we coordinate with the Allen County Sheriff's Department, Allen County Prosecutor's Office and the court system.

To be better equipped for emergencies, we have limited our response to some non-emergency calls for service that can be taken over the phone by our teleservice section in the Records Division.

Please know the FWPD works each day to meet the safety needs of the community. We can't do it alone and appreciate the support we receive from the public as we work together to be a safe and welcoming city. Through proactive implementation strategies, open communication and by building trust, we are seeing good results.

The members of the Fort Wayne Fire Department are full-time professional firefighters who have received the best training available and are fully prepared to respond to the COVID-19 crisis.

FWFD administration has spent the past several weeks working with the Allen County Department of Health to understand the virus, and also to secure all the necessary personal protective equipment required to respond to COVID-19 and other infectious diseases.

We have also been in contact with fire departments around the country that have seen a high number of COVID-19 cases to better understand the types of demands our department may face.

In addition, all non-emergency FWFD activities have been suspended.

The FWFD's continued commitment to protecting lives and making a meaningful difference in the community are critical as we serve the public. The department is honored to be part of a great city, and our ongoing efforts will be aimed at providing excellent services.

We encourage the public to visit, where a community resource page has been created that contains vital information about local government responses and other organizations that serve the public to meet many needs across several agencies and organizations.

Much of the information provided has been translated to other languages to communicate with our multicultural community.

Please continue to practice social distancing, wash hands thoroughly and regularly, and limit activities in group settings per Gov. Eric Holcomb's stay-at-home order.

Under Mayor Tom Henry's leadership and our partnership with Allen County government and the Allen County Sheriff's Department, our collective response to this pandemic will make us a stronger and more unified community.

Eric Lahey, is chief of the Fort Wayne Fire Department, and Steve Reed is chief of the Fort Wayne Police Department.

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