Thu, 04/02/2020 - 7:30pm

Be kind, be patient

To the Block Island Community:

The New Shoreham Police Department, along with the assistance and professional guidance of retired Police Chief Bill McCombe, has taken the following steps to ensure the community’s safety with respect to COVID-19.

Our officers have stopped people entering Block Island to counsel them on the requirements of quarantine, and offered help if they need supplies. Officers have visited well over 200 homes on the island owned by people from states that are highly impacted, and encountered residents and re-emphasized the importance of following rules. Only 13 houses were occupied out of well over 200 visited.

We are keeping track of arrivals by date and vehicle registration and doing all we can do to monitor compliance, which has been excellent.

I have received reports from people that own houses here and from other states who have stated they are being treated poorly and aggressively when encountering others. Those that have called me have been here for weeks and are well past any quarantine issues. If there is a concern from a citizen, it is the police department’s job to investigate and deal with those that are not in compliance. Please call and report any concerns here rather than confronting people. Let us not devolve into a modern-day episode of “Lord of the Flies.”

Additionally, there is a compelling reason why any citizen should not try to become a police officer in these high-stress times. Every person reacts differently to stress, when they are already agitated and afraid, they can sometimes be problematic or dangerous with the slightest provocation. We, as police officers, have the ability to protect ourselves in the event of a confrontation. If you push the wrong buttons of a person who is unknown to you, there can be catastrophic consequences. That is why we are trained to handle matters calmly and professionally, but are prepared for the possibility of a violent response; whereas, you are not.

We have a great community; the pandemic that exists now is going to take a while to pass, but it will. Please be courteous and kind to your neighbors. In fact, offer help, as we are, to those in quarantine. Every decent action or kindness from one person to another is more helpful than you can imagine.

I personally thank you for all that you do for our police department, and can ensure you that we will do all we can in this time of uncertainty.


Chief Vincent T. Carlone