City shifting to virtual services while county is in purple

Police and Fire Facility Lobby (Crystal Apilado/Winters Express)

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The City of Winters is implementing changes to how the public can access services at City facilities in response to Yolo County’s recent return to the purple tier. 

City Manager, Kathleen Trepa said staff are implementing a  variety of measures to maintain services via email, phone and through online services in order to minimize  direct in person contact with members of the public. 

We are making some changes to access to city hall as part of our efforts to try and minimize the community spread of COVID-19,” said Trepa.

Effective Monday, Nov. 23, the public lobbies at City Hall and the Public Safety Center are closed to walk-ins. The City is requesting the public to instead contact City staff via phone or email. 

Contact information for department staff  is available on the City’s website at http://www.cityofwinters.org/contact/, or the public should call 530-795-4910. Staff will make appointments for in-person meetings with the public  when necessary and as appropriate if remote coordination is not possible.

Trepa noted specifics for each department as:

More specific department information is below: 

Building: Those who need over the counter permits should call the Building Division at 530-794-6708. Permits will be  issued electronically or by mail, and arrangements may also be made to coordinate plan drop off and pick up.  

Finance: Utility payments and other correspondence with the City may continue to be made through the drop box in front  of City Hall (318 First St.). Receipts for payments will be mailed or emailed. The public may continue to make  cash payments; however, no change will be provided and over-payments will be credited to an individual’s account.

Fire Personnel: The public should contact the Winters Fire Department’s non-emergency business line at 530-795-4131. The Yolo County Dispatch Non-Emergency Line/Burn Day Status can be contacted at 530-666-8915. 

For Fire Prevention, Plan Reviews and Inspections the public can make an appointment by contacting Fire Marshal, Art Mendoza at 530-795-4131 ex 233 or via e-mail Art.Mendoza@wintersfire.org

Burn Permits may be obtained online at http://www.wintersfire.org/winters-fire-application-and-permit-to burn/

Trepa encourages the community to ask questions if they are unsure, and to continue to support local businesses.

“Public health data shows COVID-19 is spreading; we all can do our part to help slow the rate of infection so that  restrictions can be lifted. Please wear your mask and follow State and County Health directives and  recommendations so that together, we can turn the pandemic tide,” said Trepa. “And please support our local businesses and  nonprofits: shop local, take out dining, and contribute to community causes that warm your heart.”

Public Safety Facility services
Winters Police Chief, John P.  Miller said the Winters Police Department is also making a shift to more virtual options while Yolo is in purple.

According to Miller, there are speakerphones located at the front entrance of the Police and Fire Lobby entrance with instructions posted on how to contact Police or Fire personnel.

For emergencies, the public is directed to dial 911. For non-emergencies, the public can call in during regular business hours at 530-795-2261 or the 24 hour Dispatch center at 530-795-4561.

Other changes include Winters Police responding to “cold” reports in a virtual means. “Cold” reports include property crimes where there is no suspect and/or no evidence to be collected, the late report of traffic collisions, identity theft reports requested by banks or credit card companies for documentation purposes, etc. This type of service will be offered to the community in the form of a FaceTime call from an officer.

The public is asked to make a police report by calling the Dispatch center at 530-795-4561. The call taker will determine if a telephone report is appropriate and advise that an Officer will call you back and that a FaceTime call with the Officer is an option. 

Miller said WPD officers are issued iPhones, so they are only offering FaceTime calls for the time being. However, he is currently looking into a crossover app for android users.

Winters police will continue to educate and seek voluntary compliance with County and state health orders.

He said depending on the circumstance of a report for non-compliance, the reporting party may be referred to contact the Yolo County Health Department. He noted that in the City of Winters there have yet to be any penalty citations given.

“There have been zero citations and zero arrest for any violations of the health orders since this started,” Miller said.

Residents are also encouraged to register with YoloAlerts for information regarding ongoing incidents: shelter in place/lock-down orders for ongoing danger to the public, evacuation related orders/updates.

Miller said YoloAlerts is the platform that residents will be notified on for ongoing incidents and updates.

YoloAlerts was most recently utilized last week in an incident where the Sacramento Police Department was serving a warrant in town and had to issue a shelter in place order to residents in the area when the situation became challenging.

For more immediate incidents, Miller said WPD posts updates on their social media platforms as new information becomes available. He encourages residents to also subscribe to the WPD social media accounts on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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