The SPVM has declared a state of emergency for an indeterminate period in order to use their resources to “maximum effect” during the COVID crisis. The service declared it will be using its new extraordinary powers granted under Cabinet decree giving officers the right to break up gatherings of more than ten people even if they are in private homes.
It is the first time the police have used this power since the Ice Storm of 1998.
A state of emergency also means that detectives will don their bulletproof vests to patrol in cars with their constable colleagues. Shifts will be extended and manpower will be utilized to the maximum as needs arise regarding Covid issues and emergency calls.
The decision was made in tandem between the highest echelons of the SPVM and the Policemen’s Brotherhood. In a state of emergency normal hours for officers and detectives are suspended. By maximum utilization of manpower, extended shifts of 10-12 hours will be more effective according to the department.
Police officers will be obliged to work, if needed, even during their normal days off. All vacation time has been suspended for the “short term.” A condition of the power to declare a state of emergency is that it be for a specific duration. This condition has been waived.