With social distancing, RCPD carries on working through pandemic

A Riley County Police Department vehicle flashes its lights. (Archive Photo by Andrea Klepper | Collegian Media Group)

As emergency first responders, Riley County Police Department officers do not have the option to work from home every day. For the most part, RCPD functions as usual amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We have been implementing staggering shifts from home so that we can help to protect our workforce and ensure that we are maintaining proper social distancing guidelines here at the workplace,” RCPD public information officer Hali Rowland said.

You should still expect to see officers around on the street, Rowland said. But the addition of social distancing hasn’t been easy.

“We do pride ourselves on our community connections, and so it it has been hard for a lot of our officers to make that jump back and say ‘You know I gotta stay back a little ways,’ when they can go up and and talk to community members like they did previously, because we’re trying to limit our interactions that are unnecessary at this time,” Rowland said.

The officers are working to still maintain contact with the community through different events and online sources, but Rowland said they’re “craving that community contact just as much as everybody else,” and are all very excited for things to get back to normal when it’s safe.

As for administrators and some other positions, there is opportunity to work from home.

Vivienne Uccello, public information officer for the city of Manhattan, is currently working with the Emergency Operations Center and serves as the lead on the communications team for the county response to the pandemic. During the regular press conferences from the Riley County Health Department, Uccello coordinates the flow of information and has been working closely with the leadership in the first responders division.

“We’ve moved operations digitally as much as possible, but there are still some situations where we have to meet in person,” Uccello said.

She said that everyone working with her is “taking care to practice social distancing and keep everybody as safe as possible.”

I’m a senior in journalism & mass communications. In addition to writing on staff for the Collegian, I’m the online editor for Manhappenin magazine and I've worked for the Royal Purple Yearbook. I'm also the founder of the Wildcats Against Sexual Violence student organization and I'm licensed to fly drones! When I graduate, I hope to get a job as a criminal investigative reporter.