ITHACA, N.Y. — The Ithaca Police Department announced on Sunday changes to patrol procedures and front desk staffing in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

IPD says that the changes are to limit face to face contact between officers and the public, for the protection of personnel and the public.

“The front desk at Ithaca Police Headquarters normally staffed Monday (through) Friday during regular business hours is now closed,” said Senior Deputy Chief Monticello in a press release Sunday. “We encourage the public to refrain from visiting police headquarters to conduct business unless it is a life-threating situation or you have no other means of contacting the Ithaca Police Department.”

According to the release, those wishing to file a complaint or speak with officers may be asked to step outside to help facilitate social distancing, as recommended by health care professionals. The goal of distancing is to help slow the spread of COVID-19 and avoid overwhelming the local hospital system.

IPD reminds city residents to call 911 for emergency service and to call Tompkins County Police Dispatch at 607-272-3245 for non-emergencies.