Pandemic Patrol

Police department takes precautions due to the coronavirus

Sarah Buttikofer, Staff Writer

Leonia Police Department Captain Scott Tamagny said that police officers have to be ready for anything at any time, especially during the pandemic.

“There’s a lot more that goes on [during] these times, even in small towns, that people don’t realize,” Tamagny said.

While most people are directed to stay home, emergency response workers, including police officers, are still on duty.

Contributed by Scott Tamagny
Frank Rocco, a patrol officer at the Leonia Police Department, continues to go to work during the pandemic. He said police officers are limiting their exposure to each other by working in pairs of two instead of four.

Frank Rocco, a patrol officer that has worked for the Leonia Police Department for seven years and has been a sworn officer for 21 years, said police officers are limiting their exposure to each other by working in pairs of two instead of four.

“The other two stay at home on call and available in case there’s an emergency, ” Rocco said. “Somebody exceeding the speed limit is not a priority — we don’t want to expose ourselves to people just to enforce the law.” 

Rocco said that police officers are mainly looking for “an egregious violation or safety issue.”

“We are remaining distant from the public and even taking reports over the phone now,” Rocco said.

Although many aspects of Rocco’s job have changed, he continues to go in to work on a slightly altered schedule.

“We’re very fortunate we have a tremendous amount of gear that we can access, along with gloves, masks, shields, and sanitizer,” Rocco said. “We are very fortunate, and I mean that.”

Tamagny, a River Vale resident who has been working in Leonia for 26 years, has been home for about a month in order to not expose himself or other officers to the coronavirus.

Contributed by Scott Tamagny
Leonia Police Department Captain Scott Tamagny is currently working from home. He is ready to go out and help if it is needed.

“Normally, I work Monday through Friday,” Tamagny said. “Usually, I would see every shift, and if I was sick, I would get the entire department sick.”

Although Tamagny is currently working from home, in case of an emergency, he is ready to go out and help if needed.

“I have a take-home car now,” Tamagny said. “If there was an emergency at work, I can get to town very quickly if needed. The chief and I or administrative officers don’t usually go out on the road. I do more administration, scheduling, and planning.”

Tamagny said all of the health department, recreation department, Department of Public Works, mayor’s office, emergency management, police department, and fire department heads have come together to form a strong base and send one united message to the town.

“We all contribute,” Tamagny said. “The mayor puts out a message every night to the town via email.”

Tamagny said that this situation is “extremely serious” and is trying to help as much as he can without putting himself and others in danger.

“Every officer has to come home to their families, and I would feel horrible if I went to work and brought it home to them,” Tamagny said. “Officers are human too. They have been trying and taking precautions to take care of themselves and their families as well.”