The city of Corry's police department will now have an employee working at the front desk at all hours of every day in order to aid the public and provide information regarding city operations as well as the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Following Corry's state of emergency declaration on Friday afternoon, the city has decided to have a point of contact after hours so citizens can call or visit the police department andobtain information about city operations, garbage collection, water and sewer as well as general COVID-19 concerns and the recent stay-at-home order for Erie County.
The lobby of the Corry City Police Department is set up to handle those types of questions and will remain open 24/7 during the city's state of emergency. The lobby is easy to clean and disinfect.
Corry City Police Chief Rich Shopene said the city is choosing to have someone there since city operations are limited right now and because of the state of emergency in Corry, the county and across Pennsylvania.
"We decided we needed someone there 24/7 to give people a place that they can call or go to for information,” Shopene said. "If they have any questions or need assistance, we would have someone there."
Besides the police station, all city government buildings have been closed to the public.
Corry has repurposed some of the city's employees to work the front desk at the police station to handle walk-in inquires and to take messages from the telephone system.
The city employees who have been brought in to assist citizens are not trained to take emergency services calls so they will not answer the telephone, but they have been trained to retrieve voicemails from the telephone system and have been directed to return calls applying to city operations, complaints regarding noncompliance with Gov. Tom Wolf's order to shut down non-life-sustaining businesses and information on how to file an appeal to stay open.
The city employees will pass along all calls regarding police matters to on-duty officers.
Any citizen who has a question can call the police station at 814-664-2222, select option 2 and leave a message. A city employee will then get back to the caller as soon as possible.
Corry City Police are asking citizens to call 911 if there is an emergency or if they want to report a crime.
Shopene said it was necessary to bring in city employees to aid the public since a police officer may not be at the station at all times.
"If officers are out patrolling or at other calls, they may be an hour, two hours before they get back to the station to return those calls and get that information out," he said.
The police department currently has eight officers after two retirements in late February.