Breaking News

Sauk PD’s response to COVID-19: “Use your head”

Autumn Luedke

Keep Calm, and Carry On.

Originally coined by the British government in an attempt to boost morale at the beginning of World War II, the adage is similar to that of the message Sauk Prairie Police Chief Jerry Strunz is hoping to relay with the Codiv-19 virus ramping up statewide and regionally.

Strunz said the best thing residents can do is not to panic, and “use their heads.”

Why? Because although he has never experienced anything quite of this magnitude related to a pandemic while on the department, Strunz said most law enforcement agencies – including the Sauk Prairie Police Department – have procedures in place for dealing with all sorts of crises, especially after the September 11 terrorist attacks.

“Obviously over the course of my career a number of things we’ve have been concerned about have occurred,” Strunz said. “Early on we dealt with concerns about viruses such as Hepatitis or HIV. And every year department wide we go through discussions and concerns about flu and its strains; there was that whole scenario with SARS. And when you have a situation like September 11, bioterrorism was big back then. But nothing that has risen to the level of response we are seeing with Covid-19. And this is obviously the first time schools and businesses have closed down due to an outbreak from a virus.”

Department staff are keeping safe by following the recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control and the World Health Organization, such as keeping personal work stations clean, a lot of hand washing and to the extent possible, social distancing. “Obviously in our line of work that can be a bit of a challenge,” Strunz said. “But we are doing what we do every year during the flu season, maintaining good personal hygiene, disinfecting work stations and common areas. Right now, everyone should be following those rules.”

As of March 16, the police department was operating under normal business (lobby) hours, 8 a.m.-4 p.m. and offering just about all the usual services, with the exception of fingerprinting to the public for licensing, regulation/certification purposes, which it has temporarily suspended.

Strunz said the department is also encouraging people to utilize some of the department’s services online, such as registering vehicles and paying fines, and other department business can be handled over the telephone, he said.

As updates and recommendations about the virus continue to come in from the CDC, Strunz said the department may look into possibly changing protocols – but only if necessary. “With lower priority and non-emergency calls we might switch to at least a telephone screening first,” Strunz said. “And this goes for all village staff – we need to keep essential personnel healthy. But at this point, we are continuing with normal operating procedures.”

Strunz said the key in any situation where there are many unknowns, is to “keep calm and don’t panic” and even more importantly, to follow the instructions of the professionals.

“Seek information from official sites such as the state Department of Health Services and the CDC – and even your own physician,” Strunz said. “I know many have already reached out directly to patients. Those are the best sources. It’s never a good idea to listen to rumors or get information from social media. Because some of it is leading people to be more anxious.”

Strunz said the department will continue to follow the recommendations of the CDC, and any updates regarding changes in services or department lobby hours will be available on the department’s webpage or official Facebook page.

Login Help

Thank you for visiting the new website. For your initial login, please use the following:

Username: Your current Star News username
Password: Please also use your username as your password

Once you successfully login, you can change your username. Thank you.