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Community policing vital to pandemic response, says this Deputy Commissioner

Ever wondered why police have been doing odd jobs such as feeding the poor and painting corona art on the roads ever since the virus struck the city. Meet Washermenpet Deputy Commissioner G Subbulakshmi, an ideal example of what community policing is all about.

Community policing vital to pandemic response, says this Deputy Commissioner
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G Subbulakshmi helps residents to collect potable water

Chennai

“We run boys and girls clubs. Be it power cut, water crisis or even a garbage issue, people dial police stations too. During the tsunami, it was not the regular policing we did. Similarly, the quotient of community policing has increased now,” said the official.

“Even the educated fail to understand the crisis and argue with police in containment zones for not letting them out. Some fail to understand why the entire area has to be contained if it is just one person who has contracted the virus. It would take at least two hours to convince them to stay indoors,” she said.

According to her, there is a stigma attached to the disease among the public. “Those who know they are positive do not come forward for the tests, while the neighbours start treating them differently,” she said.

The Deputy Commissioner gets at least 1,000 food packets from a few NGOs which she ensures reach those really in need. She goes in her vehicle and distributes them, apart from giving them masks. She even feeds stray dogs while returning home. To avoid the risk of cops contracting COVID, those above 55 have been asked not to report for work. “But we don’t go home if we’ve visited containment zones on that day. Everyone including the inspectors, assistant commissioners and myself stay back at the stations,” she said.

The Deputy Commissioner, once back at home, sanitises her badges, takes a shower and quarantines herself in her room for the safety of her daughter and mother. Her son, a post-graduate medical student, works at a COVID special ward at Kilpauk Medical College and quarantines himself in another room.

Not different is the life of sub-inspectors. “Our day starts at 6 am and end at 10 pm and sometimes even beyond,” said a sub-inspector on the condition of anonymity. When he returns home, he goes straight to the terrace to take a shower in hot water before entering the house.

“I get a little harsh with my kids so that they keep off me. But my colleague has a newborn and he’s stopped going home 40 days ago. He stays at the police station, sees his child on a video call. Or he will go to the quarters and would stay in the ground, while his family members speak to him from the balcony and show him the kid from there,” he said.

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