Local officer shares experience of fighting crime during pandemic

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BECKLEY, WV (WVNS) — The pandemic brought many challenges to people’s day-to-day lives, but especially to the lives of law enforcement officers.

“Everything changed once the pandemic started,” said Cpl. Ryan Cuevas.

During the pandemic, some crimes actually decreased like theft and DUI, but domestic crimes increased. Cpl. Ryan Cuevas is far too familiar with these types of crimes. He has been the Beckley Police Department’s Domestic Violence Officer since 2017.

Cuevas said the pandemic lock downs created a perfect storm for domestic crimes.

“The arguments escalate. And you take out the part out where they can leave the residence, or they can’t get help, it’s only going to exasperate the situation,” said Cuevas.

Some aspects of law enforcement could change to adjust to the pandemic. For example, road patrol officers could choose to only enforce more serious traffic violations to avoid exposure to the public. However, for Cuevas and his team, scaling back was not an option.

“We still responded to all the calls. During the pandemic, with the threat to law enforcement themselves, we were going to these residences, trying to help these victims out. Anything they needed, we would go forth and try and help them out,” said Cuevas.

COVID-19 just increased the risks they take every day.

“Cause you don’t know what the situation is on the other side of that door,” said Cuevas.

But the pandemic did not slow down the domestic violence team.

“We can’t stay home. We have to go to that call. We have no choice,” Cuevas said.

Just another day on the job during a global pandemic.

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