Commanding Officer of the Westmoreland Police Division, Superintendent Robert Gordon, has said that residents in the parish have been maintaining a high level of compliance with the Disaster Risk Management Act (DRMA).
“Generally, a large segment of the population [in Westmoreland] is compliant, without even being engaged and asked to be compliant, so the voluntary compliance is very high,” Superintendent Gordon told JIS News.
“We have a four-prong approach in treating with the DRMA. First, we start with ourselves, law-enforcement officers. We comply with the protocols, such as wearing our masks,” he said.
He added that this approach is taken to ensure that members are protected from COVID-19, and in so doing, ensure that enforcement is optimal.
“If our members go down, then the enforcement will be affected. So, we try our utmost best to abide by the protocols at all times to safeguard against us getting ill in the first instance, and to ensure that we have numbers to not only treat with the DRMA, but with the general policing of Westmoreland,” Superintendent Gordon outlined.
Another approach he highlighted is to educate citizens in the parish about the virus and how to protect themselves.
Superintendent Gordon noted that town criers are often used to spread the word about the virus as well as the protocols in various communities. He added that officers from the 10 police stations in the parish often conduct education walk-throughs of various communities at least once per week.
“They go to the communities, engage with the citizenry on a number of issues, and of course, COVID-19 issues are front and centre,” the Superintendent said.
He added that the next approach, which is the proactive phase, involves scanning social media networks as best as possible, “to see if there are any planned events that should not be going on”.
The final approach is the enforcement phase, which has resulted in 567 prosecutions and more than 100 warnings.
He added that persons have paid millions of dollars in fines over the period, and the Division continues enforcement measures.