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This Police Chief Is Making House Calls To Check In On People During The Pandemic

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via Chris Greeley
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Holden Police Chief Chris Greeley makes it a habit to give out his cellphone number to residents in his community. But during the recent pandemic and the governor's stay-at-home order, Greeley has been taking additional steps to try to connect with the people he serves by reaching out and calling those who may be especially vulnerable.

Ed note: transcript has been edited for clarity.

“I started by reaching out to people that I knew may be pastors of churches, older folks, maybe people with disabilities, people that I knew maybe had been struggling recently, widowed people — I mean, really, even just people that I knew just in general.

“I started with phone calls, maybe text messages. When I could do so safely, I would even stop by somebody's house and talk to them from a safe distance or through a window just to see how they were doing.

“Some folks were surprised — or are surprised, I continue to do this every day — that, you know, 'the police chief is showing up just to see how I'm doing,' And anytime — you know I'm a cop, and I see a police car behind me, I get nervous. So if the police car is in your driveway, you might be thinking, 'why are the police here?' But of course, this small town where I've been here for so long, a lot of folks know who I am. And I literally would just say, 'look, no emergency, no problem. I just just want to see how you're doing. Just want to see if you're okay, if you need anything.'

“Generally, people are great. Everybody has been very polite. Sometimes, though, people have said to me, 'I'm concerned about this, I'm concerned about that, I'm feeling really lonely, I'm feeling isolated, I'm concerned about getting food.' And in some circumstances it would lead me to where I could help link them up with a service or food or get a donation or something like that.

“One woman, she's in her 60s, lives alone in a rented mobile home. She's never had a driver's license. And I've noticed, because we do go there for medical calls, and the place is a little bit disheveled. And when I called her, reached out to her and I said, 'hey, how you doing for food?' She said a local business had actually dropped off a box of food to her. I said, 'well, what are you gonna do after that?' She said, 'well, I'm not sure. I really don't know what I'm going to do.' So I called the Eastern Area Agency on Aging and said, 'can you guys set her up with a delivery?’ for lack of a better term. And they're like, 'yeah, she's not on the list, but we can add her and we can make sure that happens.' It wasn't anything I paid for, but I was able to coordinate that box of food delivery that will help her out for a couple of weeks. And then here pretty shortly, I'll call her again and just see how she's doing.

So, you know, sometimes it's me that is sort of the face of it, but it's the community support that really makes all this work.”

Greeley’s story was produced by Susan Sharon. If you or someone you know has a story to share, email Maine Public at TellMeMore@mainepublic.org and let us know the best way to reach you.

Orginally published April 29, 2020 at 6:31 p.m. ET.