Policing During a Pandemic (Part 3): Wearing Masks is New Normal
Before the coronavirus pandemic, people likely would have been suspect of someone wearing a face covering in public. But as local police chiefs discuss, it’s become a normal part of life.
“I was making that comment to my wife the other day,” said Osseo Police Chief Shane Mikkelson. “We were at the grocery store. I said I would be really suspect if I saw all these people walking in with masks but now it’s becoming more commonplace. I haven’t seen any trends that have come out where they’re seeing people in masks doing anything other than their normal shopping or their normal daily routine.”
People making their own masks. Some masks show personality.
“You know I think to be honest with you at first we were kind of put off when we saw the community members wearing masks everywhere,” said Mark Bruley, Brooklyn Park’s deputy police chief. ” Now they’re making their own masks. Some of them are black and they’re walking into convenience stores and what-not. But I think we’ve gotten past that to be honest with you. It’s just now become our new normal. We know now why people are doing it. They’re doing it to protect themselves. The reality is people are seeing the police with masks on too. I mean our police officers and firefighters are wearing masks when they go into calls. And so I think it was a concern at first but as this new normal affects us all I think we’re just getting used to it.”
Crystal’s deputy police chief: face coverings don’t concern him.
“I think the public health benefit of masks, as it’s been described, certainly outweighs. The reality is that we have criminals that use masks now and we can’t identify them,” said Brian Hubbard, Crystal’s deputy police chief. “People in the community that are just trying to do the right thing. They go about their business and have been told, and feel that it’s safer for them to have a mask on. I want to encourage them to do that.”
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