A new beat for police across US: Enforcing social distance

U.S. & World

A shopper stands on a social distancing marking as police officers patrol the farmers market in Union Square, Wednesday, March 25, 2020, in New York. Police have stepped up efforts to pressure New Yorkers to practice social distancing at the epicenter of the crisis. It’s part of a global challenge that law enforcement and health officials say is critical to containing the coronavirus. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

NEW YORK (AP) — Police departments across the U.S. are taking a lead role in enforcing social distancing rules that health officials say are critical to containing COVID-19.

Officers accustomed to chasing suspects and solving crimes are spending these troubled days cajoling people to stay at least 6 feet apart.

In New York City, they’ve started dismantling basketball hoops to prevent people from gathering.

In Lakewood, New Jersey, police broke up a wedding being held in violation of a ban on large gatherings. And in Austin, Texas, officers are encouraging people to call a hotline to snitch on violators of the city’s stay-home order.

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