Police chief reassures public during uncertain times, health crisis
Farmington city staff and leadership are working to keep the public informed during the state of emergency implemented by the governor more than a week ago.
The City Council declared the COVID-19 virus as a local, peacetime emergency during the regular March 16 meeting at city hall before the doors closed the next day.
Future City Council, board and commission meetings will most likely be held in a teleconferencing format.
“It is pretty clear that we are going to have as many meetings as possible and those may need to be done virtually,” said Council Member Joshua Hoyt. Hoyt said the council is giving city leadership time to work through the ever changing guidelines from the governor’s office.
Hoyt says can stay informed via the newspaper and the city’s social media platforms. The council will be committed to communicating with the public to offer transparency that will include changes in how the city meetings will be held.
City administration has been working on each city department’s response plans. City leadership is in frequent communication with the county, state and federal government on a number of fronts.
Farmington City Administrator David McKnight said the primary goal will be to protect city staff and to provide essential city services such as public safety and utilities.
McKnight spoke about his gratitude to city workers who have been working behind the scenes and are on the front lines during the COVID-19 virus during a time of social distancing and recommended work-at-home orders.
City administration has been working to listen and evaluate what the community’s needs are from the city’s standpoint. City leaders urge residents to be kind, patient and supportive to fellow neighbors, businesses and organizations that have had to make some tough calls in recent weeks with business closures and cancellations.
The two city-owned Farmington Liquor Stores were closed as of March 19, to protect city employees’ personal safety.
Even though city buildings and facilities are closed temporarily, residents can reach city staff by telephone and email regarding any questions about city services.
Public safety priority
Farmington Police Chief Gary Rutherford gave reassurance to Farmington residents during the stay-at-home order, saying: “These are very stressful times for a lot of people and we get that, and our job is to keep the peace or in these circumstances, keep the calm.”
“We urge everyone to take a deep breath and keep the following things in mind:
“Farmington Police are still working 24 hours a day, every day, and this will not change during this time. The police will continue to investigate crimes like it has done for years,” he said.
Rutherford recommends residents keep cars and homes locked and do not leave keys in cars. Residents are encouraged to call the police department if something does not seem right in their neighborhoods.
“In addition to those traditional roles, we (police) are planning for a greater role as community caretakers. We don’t know what the future holds, but we do know that we will be right beside you as this crisis continues to unfold,” Rutherford said.
“In the meantime, be kind to one another, check in on your elderly neighbors and know that we will get through this eventually and we will be a better, stronger, more resilient community as a result,” Rutherford said.
McKnight said: “Despite these tough times, we have seen amazing positivity and support from our community. Thank you for stepping up! Rest assured we will get through this together.”