Jersey City police open non-emergency phone line in midst of COVID-19 pandemic

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The Jersey City Police Department has opened a non-emergency phone line, bringing back a program that was used in the mid-90s, to improve dispatch efficiency and response time in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Jersey City Police Chief Michael Kelly.

By John Heinis/Hudson County View

The Telephone Reporting Unit (TRU) designates a small group of officers to handle non-violent and non-emergency calls to generate police reports, freeing up dozens of officers around the clock for street patrol and response to emergency calls, officials said.

“Our police officers, who have remained steadfast in their duties during this entire crisis, will now have their operations more streamlined to respond to emergencies while non-urgent calls are facilitated accordingly,” Mayor Steven Fulop said in a statement.

“Like most cities, we’ve seen an influx of 911 calls as people understandably have a heightened sense of fear and uncertainty amid this pandemic. This police line will free up our officers for better emergency response and ultimately to enhance the safety of our community overall.”

The TRU was started in the mid 1990’s before eventually being phased out and the new version has an added component where residents who insist having a police officer respond to their location in a non-emergency or a non-violent incident will be granted that request.

For all non-emergency and non-violent calls for police service, residents are urged to call (201) 547-5477 where an officer will generate an official report that will be made available to the caller within five days.

Jersey City Police Chief Michael Kelly said on Sunday that a new non-emergency hotline would be set up at a press conference in front of the East District precinct addressing changes in protocol for first responders in light of two officers testing positive for COVID-19.

The coronavirus has had a sizable impact on the city as a whole thus far, with 130 patients diagnosed, one confirmed death, and two others under investigation, Fulop said this morning.

Additionally, since all restaurants and eateries have been mandated to only serve meals via delivery or takeout, the city has created a digital business registry on its official website, www.jerseycitynj.gov.

The website lists the name and contacts numbers/emails for those food-distributor registrants and the registration is free to the community.

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