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19 Mar 2020

Official Philadelphia Police Department statement regarding COVID-19

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March 19, 2020 Category: Local Posted by:

In tandem with the City of Philadelphia’s enhanced response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Police Department is making modifications to several of its existing protocols. These adjustments include the following:

Effective Tuesday, March 17, 2020, arrests for certain non-violent offenses will be made pursuant to an Arrest Warrant, which will be served at a later date. This means that a person, who would ordinarily be arrested and processed at a detective division, will now be temporarily detained for the purpose of confirming identity, as well as completion of required paperwork. At a later date, that person will be arrested pursuant to an Arrest Warrant. 

It should be noted that if a police officer believes that releasing an individual would pose a threat to public safety, the officer will notify a supervisor, who will review the totality of the circumstances, and in the interest of public safety, utilize discretion in determining the appropriate course of action. 

Other modifications include:


• Officers from various plain-clothes specialized units will be temporarily reassigned to uniform patrol duties.

• The “Live Stop” vehicle impoundment program will be suspended until further notice.

• Non-essential training has been temporarily suspended.

• Police Radio will redirect certain calls for service to Patrol Districts. An officer will speak to citizen via telephone, then  prepare a police report. 

• Police Department employees are being versed in best practices to avoid communication of Covid-19 (e.g., maintaining proper social distancing, washing hands regularly, wearing of nitrile gloves, refraining from touching face and eyes, etc.). 

“Our mission is to protect and promote the health and safety of our officers and the community we serve to the best of our ability, while continuing to discharge every aspect of our core duties,” said Commissioner Danielle Outlaw. 

As this pandemic situation is inherently fluid, additional information will be provided as conditions dictate.

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