Manteo Police Department checking on seniors and those with special needs

Published 12:24 pm Friday, April 3, 2020

The Manteo Police Department is checking on elderly residents and those with special needs during the pandemic crisis. Using an established program called Operation Helping Hands, police officers contact those who signed up for the program to make sure they are alright. They also maintain medical information and records of participants and can transfer the information to health care professionals should an emergency arise.

Manteo Police Chief Vance Haskett said one difference during the health crisis is that officers are practicing social distancing and mostly making phone checks instead of visits. Seniors or those with special needs who live in the Town of Manteo are eligible for the wellness checks and can sign up at the Manteo Police Department or by calling 252-473-2069.

Around the town, officers are providing instruction on the new social distancing regulations when needed. Officers are telling any groups over ten that they can’t gather and that everyone must maintain a separation of six feet between each other. Haskett says most people in town are complying to the new rules.

Another difference for the officers is the way they handle calls and traffic stops: they attempt to maintain a social distance. Officers check licenses through closed car windows and put on gloves and a surgical mask if a person is sick. The department has ordered the more protective N95 masks, but they are in short supply.

Manteo Mayor Bobby Owens thinks the police are doing a good job. “It’s a bad time for everybody,” he said. “I think we [town officials and staff] are doing everything we can.”

The call volume for police help has been down since the Stay at Home regulations have been put in place and the town has seen “very good compliance,” according to Haskett. The police chief said, “that’s good because the COVID-19 social distancing rules are now the law.”

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