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Police Take Precautions And Continue To Serve
hand wash
After patrolling the streets of Riverbank, Deputy McClaskey takes a moment to wash his hands at the new washing station before entering the police services building. Virginia Still/The News

The COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak has affected everyone in one way or another and the increased cases in the State of California has led to a state order issued by Governor Gavin Newsom for people to shelter in place and for non-essential businesses to close. Riverbank Police Services (RPS) will continue to serve the community but are also taking health and safety precautions for all involved. With ramped up patrols on the streets of Riverbank, RPS Chief Ed Ridenour wants to assure the public that they are here for the community through these unusual circumstances.

RPS is an extension of the Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Department that has contracted with the City of Riverbank and they have made a few changes to help better protect the public, deputies, and staff. The public has been asked to use the online reporting tools to report crimes, administer calls over the phone, as well as meet the deputies outside when they respond to a business or residence.

“We are doing well in Police Services, our employees are upbeat and they are doing their best to assure the public we are here for them and their safety,” stated Ridenour. “We are not refusing any service, we will respond if requested. The public’s support of our efforts has been well received and supportive.”

To prepare for the current situation RPS has added some additional safety protocols with personal protective equipment at their disposal like filter masks, gloves, and eye protection. The patrol cars are sanitized throughout the day along with a frequent washing of the hands.

For health and safety precautions they have added a hand washing station outside of their office so that the employees can wash their hands prior to entering the building.

Following suit with several other public service buildings their lobby has restricted access to prevent non-essential visits for the safety of all.

“We are still processing vehicle, report, and other requests as usual; we are just directing the public to call us to schedule a time for their visit so we have everything ready for them to reduce the time of the visit,” added Ridenour. “I want the public to know we are here for them during this time of need and we are in this together.”

Non-essential businesses were asked to close like dine-in restaurants, bars, nightclubs, entertainment venues, gyms, fitness studios, convention centers, hair salons, nail salons, and to cancel public events and gatherings. The shelter in place order by the governor advises everyone to stay home including those working non-essential jobs.

According to Ridenour the majority of the local businesses are abiding by the order. If a business is not in compliance of the order they will contact the owner by phone and make sure they are aware of the state mandate and explain the specifics if necessary and direct them to the state’s website This has led to voluntary compliance, he added.

“As the governor mentioned he does not feel law enforcement needs to take enforcement action to enforce this order,” said Ridenour. “We are asking for the public to do the right thing and comply voluntarily.”

The order on the website advises the people to stay home except for essential needs. Meaning that everyone is required to stay home except to get food, care for a relative or friend, get necessary health care, or go to an essential job. If you go out, keep at least six feet of distance. This is a statewide order that went into effect on Thursday, March 19 and will remain in place until further notice. Essential services will remain open like gas stations, pharmacies, grocery stores, banks, and laundromats.

“We encourage social distancing and staying home unless you are out for essential needs,” expressed Ridenour. “Our deputies, traffic officers, detectives, community services officers, and support staff are working hard every day to ensure their safety. Riverbank Police Services have ramped up extra patrols to check on our closed businesses and to be here for our community. Riverbank is a great city and I am very proud of how this community is responding during these difficult times.”