AURORA — Local police have returned to something resembling normal operations, say city officials.
Mayor Ann Womer Benjamin said Thursday that officers are performing more regular traffic enforcement duties now that businesses are opening back up, including at Aurora Premium Outlets on Route 43.
"The city and the state are reopening reopening and there’s more traffic on the roads," she said. "There was very little traffic for a number of weeks."
Womer Benhamin, who also serves as the city’s public safety director, made a similar announcement during a video report posted on the city’s Facebook page on May 15.
Police Chief Brian Byard said that for a couple of weeks in April, the police department had toned down traffic enforcement, as well as enacted a policy of taking as many reports over the phone as possible in order to limit public contact. However, he said officers began enforcing traffic more and increasing public contact around the end of April.
"During the peak time of the pandemic, we had ordered our guys to be more reactive than proactive," he said.
Byard said officers were still stopping motorists for operating under the influence and especially "egregious" violations of reckless operation and speeding, but not much more than that.
"We were kind of laying back a little while there," said Byard.
He said there had been an uptick in traffic during the previous couple of weeks.
"We’re definitely seeing an increase in traffic throughout the city since most of the businesses have opened back up," said Byard.
He said police continue to sanitize the station and vehicles on a regular basis, something they had been doing before the pandemic, but now it is a policy that is more strictly enforced.
Womer Benjamin said, "Our police are always excellent at protecting our community and protecting those who come to the community. I think we will continue to be a safe community in which to live and work."
Jeff Saunders can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org