The City of Springfield has received over 900 calls to a citizen’s response line but just over 100 were actual complaints someone was violating the ordinance.
City PIO Cora Scott confirmed that the city had received 926 phone calls related to the masking ordinance but that only 131 were actual complaints that were submitted to the Springfield Police Department.
The SPD determined (as of Tuesday) that 113 complaints needed following up by officers and about half of those were still outstanding.
Scott says that the majority of calls were people upset that the ordinance passed who did not want to wear masks or thought the City Council shouldn’t have voted for them. The majority of the callers have been less than courteous to the city staff.
“Most of the people who are complaining about this ordinance have been incredibly rude and disrespectful,” Scott said. She added that citizens have the right to express their views but that they should realize that verbally abusing staff answering the calls accomplishes nothing.
Scott also added that it’s a misconception that the phone line given to the public is some kind of “snitch line” for people to report neighbors.
“The line is actually the Citizen Resource Center which has been in place for decades with staff to answer citizen questions and complaints,” Scott told OI. “But because of the nature of this ordinance, some people have confused the number as some kind social reporting line created specifically for reporting complaints about masking. Yes, you can do that, but that is not the purpose the CRC exists for.”
Scott noted that with just over 100 complaints, it indicates the overwhelming majority of the city is working together to fight COVID-19.
“We really think most people and organizations are doing the right thing, which is wonderful,” Scott said. “We have strong faith that this will help flatten our curve again.”