SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KCAU) – COVID-19 restrictions are changing the way Sioux City police officers do their job. While some things are getting back to normal, other areas have a new normal.
As the Sioux City Police Department begins re-opening its doors to the public, officers are talking about the effect the past few months have had on them.
“It’s a long time. It’s everyone missed that normal life. Everyone misses the normalcy of everything, and it starts to wear on you. I think for everybody,” said Lt. Chris Groves with the Sioux City Police Department.
When the coronavirus first hit Siouxland, the Sioux City Police Department was one of the first city departments impacted. Lt. Chris Groves was one of nine people in the department to test positive for COVID-19.
“If you take out the COVID part of this, I probably would have came back to work but because of the COVID scare, I called in and said, ‘I’m just gonna play it safe and stay home.’ I just didn’t feel exactly right. By that afternoon, I was being tested, and by that Friday, I was confirmed positive,” Groves said.
The department’s doors were closed to the public and officers had to change the way they responded 911 calls. They avoided going into homes when possible and emphasized social distancing.
“The biggest challenges as a department was dealing with the constantly changing information and changing guidance on how to better protect everyone involved,” said Sgt. McClure with the Sioux City Police.
A days work began to look very different.
“The jail didn’t want prisoners brought in, which makes sense. The jail didn’t want prisoners because now you have to worry about if you infect the jail. How do we handle that? So we went to a different means of, if we had to make an enforcement action, how do we do that we relied heavily on more citations?” said Groves.
“Nothing works better than in-person communication. Now we can train our officers on cultural compensency and de-escalation, but the best thing we do as a department is get people together is build understanding that way,” said Police Chief Rex Mueller.