With a spike in COVID-19 cases across New Providence and the circulation of videos earlier in the week that showed police in tense encounters with residents, Commissioner of Police Paul Rolle and a team of officers yesterday distributed masks and water to members of Over-the-Hill communities.
Rolle said his goal was to encourage the use of protective gear to limit the spread of COVID-19.
Officers visited Quakoo Street and Windsor Lane.
Speaking of the initiative, Rolle said, “We wanted to encourage persons to take the coronavirus seriously as this is an extremely dangerous virus, whose primary purpose is to take lives.
“Those who did not have face masks, we gave them some and encouraged them to use them and to practice social distancing. I received a donation of water on Wednesday evening for my officers stationed on road checkpoints and decided to share them with the communities.”
Rolle also said COVID-19 ambassadors will be in various areas of New Providence to enforce health protocols.
Sheion Lopez, 37, a mother of three, said although the donation from police was small, she was grateful.
“God will bless them each and every day,” Lopez said. “I am glad they are finally hearing us. Watch how they (residents) come out. They are glad to see y’all.”
Despite the gesture made by officers, she said her struggle continues.
With no electricity for two years due to a fire, Lopez said the pandemic made her situation worse.
“I have to take care of my mother in this mess,” she said.
Jamaine Henfield, 35, of Windsor Lane, said he is grateful for the small donation.
“People [are] hungry too,” he added.
“They [are] just giving out masks and water. That’s a start. We don’t want them to say we aren’t thankful for it. They could do more.”
Henfield added, “I’m not working through the lockdown. I’m barely surviving. We are barely surviving through here.”
Rolle said police want residents to know they hear their concerns.
“These are uncertain times and many persons experience doubt, discouragement, fear and depression,” the commissioner said.
“We want the public to know that we are concerned for their safety and will do as much as we can to help. My biggest regret is that we did not have sufficient product as the need is great as many persons expressed that they had nothing to eat. Officers later sacrificed their lunch and returned to Quakoo Street where we gave the meals to residents.”