Local police: Call state with coronavirus questions

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Local law enforcement agencies say they are seeing a drop in the number of calls about crime and an uptick in calls about coronavirus concerns.

The Grand Rapids Police Department and Kent County Sheriff’s Department said emergencies are still their top priority. You can help them fulfill their mission by turning to other resources to find answers about coronavirus.

“Often the best information is available to you without calling us,” Kent County Sheriff Michelle Lajoye-Young said. “It’s available to you by Michigan.gov, reading the executive order, through (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) guidelines. So I would encourage you to exhaust those efforts first and if you have a question that needs to be answered locally give us a call.”

The sheriff’s office says for now, its dispatch center is still able to handle the number of calls coming in, but GRPD said its dispatchers are overwhelmed. Citizens are calling to report too many people on the playground or ask if they can visit a friend — issues that law enforcement can’t respond to.

“Please do not call 911 if you see people standing close together or a business you don’t think is essential with its doors open,” GRPD Chief Eric Payne in a statement said. “We need to keep the 911 lines open for emergencies.” 

The city of Grand Rapids says the calls are coming in on both emergency and non-emergency lines.

If you are concerned about violations of the stay-at-home order, report them to the state government.

Local law enforcement says it has the ability to pursue violations of the stay-at-home order, but are not actively enforcing it. 

“We ask that you all keep the order in mind, no at no point in time will we pull you over just because we want to know what you are doing,” Sheriff LaJoye-Young said. “That being said, if we come into contact with you for law enforcement purposes and it appears that you are out beyond what you should have been in the order, that is another thing an officer can and will follow up on.”