The ‘Beverly Hills Way’ put to test during COVID-19 outbreak


Leadership. Adaptation. Outstanding service.

The coronavirus pandemic has required the Beverly Hills Police Department and police departments around the world to adjust the way it protects communities and police officers. Officers are wearing gloves and masks and practicing social distancing – when they can. And the types of calls and arrests are changing. For example, BHPD officers earlier this week pulled over a stolen SUV loaded with 192 rolls of toilet paper.

“This is an unprecedented time and the call to leadership could not be as important as it is right now. Our employees have been exceptional in adapting to these circumstances,” said Police Chief Sandra Spagnoli. “As with any crisis, our preparation has been put to the test, and I am proud to lead a well-prepared department, whose men and women maintain their commitment to keep the community safe during this uncertain time. This is what we call ‘The Beverly Hills Way!’”

File photo of Beverly Hills Police Officer Zachary Travnitz shaking hands with Chief Sandra Spagnoli after receiving his badge.
Photo by Miguel Vasconcellos/Behind the Badge

How are you dealing with this pandemic?

We have contingency plans in place to support the community and our employees. All police employees have been incredibly flexible and dedicated during this challenging time. We are also maintaining our less than three-minute response times to Priority One calls, which is essential to the BHPD Way.    

What kind of calls are you receiving related to COVID-19? 

Overall our call volume has been lower the past few weeks. We have received some calls about community members gathering in public places and not practicing social distancing.  In order to educate our community, we created an informational flyer, which is used to remind community members to follow the public health orders. Our uniformed officers and civilians have been visible in the community.

How are you soothing nerves of your department? The community?

The managers of the department engage in daily conference calls to discuss the situation, identify any concerns and resource requests and set protocols and policies to keep our employees and community safe. Daily updates are sent department-wide so employees are in the know. The Command Staff members are visiting briefings to answer questions and provide important information and updates to our employees. 

We are using a variety of methods to communicate information to our community – social media, NIXLE alerts, BHPD smartphone app, newspaper advertisements, video messages and recorded phone messages.  Our police officers are maintaining a strong presence in the field to remind the community we are here to serve them and keep everyone safe. 

 How do the school and event closures impact you?

The Safer at Home orders have impacted everyday life, including schools and events. This is freeing up the police officers to be readily available for priority calls for service. 

How can community help you and their neighbors?

The most important thing the community can do at this time is to follow the Public Health orders by remaining at home, refraining from social gatherings, and practicing social distancing and good hygiene when you must leave your home. 

How have you dealt with panic buying and what advice would you give to shoppers?

The city’s grocery stores are continuing to receive regular and frequent shipments of goods. We encourage community members to purchase what they need and have some food, water and supplies in reserve, but to be mindful of the need of others and not purchase more than your household needs.

How are you responding differently to calls for service? Gloves? Social distancing?  

Officers are all equipped with Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) including gloves, masks and goggles. Officers are practicing social distancing on calls when practical, but with law enforcement, that is not also feasible when you’re dealing with emergencies and public safety issues.  

What should people expect when they call you for service?

The department is committed to providing superior and timely service to our community.  We have made some modifications to how we handle certain non-emergency calls in order to encourage social distancing practices. For non-emergency requests, and based on the incident type, we are offering expanded online reporting or the ability to file a telephonic report with a police officer. If these options are not suitable for the call or the caller, we are still sending police officers to calls in the field. The dispatcher may ask the caller if they are exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19, so we are properly prepared to handle the call.

For resources, visit the city’s website at