How is local law enforcement handling new orders?

By NATHAN HOWELL | Special to the Reporter

Police departments throughout Shelby County have had to make several changes to their operations to better protect themselves and the community from COVID-19 exposure, but want citizens to know they will continue to do their jobs and serve their community’s needs.

“It’s a bad situation, but we are doing our best,” said Shelby County Sheriff John Samaniego. “We do a lot of non-traditional police work so the citizens are like our customers and we are their service provider, and we will continue to provide that service.”

Police officers have had to seek new approaches to doing their everyday work. Including moving some services online, and asking the public to use non-emergency phone numbers to help limit exposure between citizens and the police officers.

“Our men and women are taking a big risk by doing this job,” said Samaneigo. “They are in harm’s way every day and often have to isolate themselves from loved ones to protect their grandparents or young children.”

Some cities like Alabaster and Montevallo have decided to implement curfews to help contain the spread of the virus.

Alabaster Police Chief Curtis Rigney said the curfew was necessary mostly to encourage people to stay at home.

“We want everybody to stay at home, because it will help stop the spread of this virus,” Rigney explained. “If you don’t have to get out, we don’t want you to get out. Some people may have to go out to travel for work, and that is not a problem. If you are just out riding around, or gathering up with friends late at night that is going to be a problem.”

Chiefs Samaniego and Rigney both said that their police department staff would also be affected either by working from home, or working on rotating schedules. However they both expressed that their departments take whatever steps necessary to be there for citizens.

“We are always here to do our jobs and if you need us we will be there for you, we just may be dressed a little differently,” said Rigney.

“This is a very fluid situation,” said Samaniego. “Things change every day and we will evolve to overcome them.”