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Residents frustrated after Auburn PD says it won’t respond to non-emergency calls while COVID surges

Police in Auburn say they will not be responding to as many calls in-person with a rise in COVID-19 cases in the Finger Lakes and Central New York.

“In keeping the public, as well as our officers, health and safety needs in mind during the spike in COVID-19 cases will prioritize the calls for service that they will be physically responding to,” a statement from Chief James Slayton read. “If there are non-emergency calls or calls that are not in progress, you may be receiving a phone call from officers rather than risking exposure to yourself or the officer.”

Finger Lakes Partners (Billboard)

Slayton thanked the public for their patience and reiterated that they will not jeopardize the safety of citizens if in-person response is necessary.

A number of frustrated residents responded to the statement, slamming city officials for allowing the department to go that route with responses.

“This is so wrong,” Heather Martin wrote. “So many domestic violence victims literally CAN’T say they’re in danger on a call.”

DiSanto Propane (Billboard)

Another respondent, Andrew Shymkiw, voiced frustration over officers’ recent participation in holiday gift exchanges. “Covid didn’t prevent officers from going store-to-store last week, buying groceries, etc., for people,” Shymkiw wrote. He went on to call that measure a publicity stunt. “Apparently it’s a free-for-all on the roadways, judging by the speed at which everyone drives up & down my residential street. But, we can’t make traffic stops, can we, lest someone become infected. So traffic enforcement is out, just do what you want, there will be no consequence. Not responding to calls for service, not making traffic stops, not patrolling the neighborhood. Sounds like we could all save some tax money by simply disbanding a disinterested, ineffectual, unaccountable ‘police department’.”

The department contends that they will continue responding to emergency calls while taking precautions.