Conn. (WTNH) — On top of their usual Labor Day patrols, looking for drunk drivers, speeders, etc…, Connecticut State Police have also been out enforcing COVID-19 precautionary social distancing guidelines. They were monitoring social media and patrolling parking lots and large public spaces, breaking up the crowds of people.
It is a little bit of a role change for State Police. Not only are they patrolling commuter lots, but they are also patrolling college campuses looking for social distancing violations in large groups. It is a different kind of a Labor Day patrol, but they say it has been working.
Trooper Christine Jeltema told News 8 Monday, “Bars are closed, places where people want to go and gather have been closed, so there is no other place for individuals to hang out. So people have been posting up on social media a meeting place and a meeting time. We have had some violent crime that has happened in the commuter lot in Manchester, that was our biggest one. We have also had complaints of gatherings [at] another commuter lot.”
At the river launch at Satan‘s Kingdom, there has been a lot of patrols. CSP and DEEP officers out there, making sure everybody is following the rules. And it’s been going well.
Louie Basile of Burlington said, “There were four officers in three different vehicles, they were out in force, and they were walking around the perimeter and down by the water where we saw them earlier.”
And for the most part, they have not had many problems. At Satan’s Kingdom, it has been a couple of families going down the river, picnicking on the riverbank. However, they say when the sun goes down…
“I do know that there have been some people who have been coming in after dark and having some kinds of parties here leaving trash behind, that is the only sign they leave,” Rachel Eschenbach of Canton said.
CSP is also patrolling around the rest of the state at other boat launches and they say when they do run into a large group of people, they are not out to arrest anybody or give them a summons. Usually they give out warnings or explain why people can’t be in large groups, and for the most part people are getting it.
Basile added, “It’s groups of people who look like they are families and they are coming in the same group and hanging out together, everyone is keeping a distance from each other.”
Eschenbach said, “I am in a group of three with my mother and sister and I have only seen a group of five at max so far, so everybody seems to be following protocol and staying safe.”
State Police say don’t be surprised to see them out at the commuter lots of college campuses on a daily basis, or even a nice weekend. They say the social distancing and the large gatherings are going to the top of the priority list.