Half of Alexandria Police detectives have been teleworking from home for nine out of the last 11 months, and a department spokesperson says that it will stay that way until it is safe to work out of police headquarters.
A significant portion of Alexandria police teleworked in the initial months of the pandemic. The practice was questioned by the City Council last May, however, while patrol officers went back out on the streets, half of detectives stayed home until September, when plexiglass shields and other safety measures were implemented at police headquarters.
Three months later, in December, COVID-19 cases were on the rise and half of the detectives went back to a work-from-home schedule.
“Half the detectives work from Police Headquarters, while the other half work and dispatch from home,” APD Senior Public Information Officer Amanda Paga told ALXnow. “The groups alternate locations every other week. Regardless of location, detectives are assigned and investigate cases, respond to scenes, conduct in-person interviews, and complete all other required work. This schedule is reviewed monthly.”
Paga said that operations have not been affected and that officers are in the process of getting their COVID-19 vaccinations. She would not confirm whether detectives will return to the office after that point.
“The hope is to return all detectives to headquarters once it is safe to do so,” Paga said.
The Alexandria Fire Department and Sheriff’s Office have not had their staffs teleworking throughout the course of the pandemic.
Mayor Justin Wilson said that the practice seems reasonable.
“Seems like a reasonable approach to balance exposure for office-based employees,” Wilson said. “Pretty much every office-based employer I am aware of is doing the same thing, including my day job and my wife’s job. It’s also a CDC recommendation to reduce office crowding through that type of arrangement. Our police detectives frequently deploy from home to scenes, even prior to Covid. So, that doesn’t seem unusual.”