Hot Springs, AR - Hot Springs Police Department officers can't arrest suspects during the Covid-19 Pandemic due to social distancing guidelines according to officials. "Because of Federal guidelines, our department has implemented a program called Shoot First, Ask Questions Later," according to the department's Public Relations officer Joey Williams. The new program states that officers should shoot all misdemeanor and felony suspects on-site and then have them transported by ambulance to the hospital where they can be properly screened for COVID-19 and transported to the jail once cleared by hospital staff. Williams states that the program is the department's best line of defense against the pandemic and is the best way to maintain officer and suspect safety. "The program is the first in the country and shows promising results. So far we have had no officers or suspects test positive for the virus, and most suspects have only suffered minor injuries," according to Williams. The department plans on sharing the data collected from these arrests with the Garland County Sheriff's Department so they can implement a similar program. "Get pulled over for no seatbelt or get caught committing a robbery, either way; we're going to bust a cap in that ass. It's the only way to maintain public health and safety in these trying times," Williams says.
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