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Gig Harbor Police Chief Kelly Busey is ready for life to get back to normal. COVID-19 vaccine is the key.

We’ve all been through so much this past year. Gig Harbor Police Chief Kelly Busey is looking forward to putting most of it behind us.

“There was a lot of tension for various reasons,” he said. “People were anxious and uptight. I’m hoping as we come out of the pandemic people can calm down, start being more kind and life gets easier for everybody.”

That’s one reason Busey said he didn’t hesitate to get the COVID-19 vaccine, and he’s hoping more people will do the same. 

“I jumped at the first opportunity,” he said. “I didn’t want to get sick, and certainly in a public safety profession, we encounter a lot of people. So, it’s my responsibility to protect myself, my family and those around me.”

He’s heard concerns from some in the community about the vaccine, and he says he does his best to point people in the right direction.

“I don’t take people’s personal objections head on, because I don’t know all  the science,” he said. “I’ve read enough on it, though, and I am comfortable with the vaccine.”

He tells others to “learn more about it,” he said. “Hopefully, you can become more comfortable with the vaccine and just continue to work toward a safe community.”

Chief Kelly Busey

Changes to the job.

For police officers to continue to perform their essential duties, they  made adjustments throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Busey said.

“Early on, we actually instructed our officers to not come into the station and not linger together except on calls,” Busey said. “If we had COVID-19 go through our department, that could wipe us out.” The Gig Harbor Police Department is made up of 19 commissioned officers. 

The agency even adjusted the way officers responded to calls. 

“We did modify some of the ways we did business,” Busey said. “If we didn’t need to make personal contact for a police call, we could handle it by phone for instance, we would do that. We would ask people to meet us outside if it was at a store or a residence.”

Jails stopped booking people for minor offenses as well. Court cases were delayed. The criminal justice system was largely put on hold.

“We just waited around for a vaccine,” Busey said.

Now, the vaccine is helping the department re-connect with the community.

“Almost all our officers have been vaccinated,” Busey said. “Not all, but most. That’s allowed us to get back to some semblance of normalcy.”

Officers will be present for all upcoming community events, Busey said, including a scaled-down version of National Night Out, the downtown Summer Sounds Concert series, and the Maritime Gig Festival and Parade.

Vaxing and relaxing.

With more people getting vaccinated for COVID-19, cases in Pierce County are on the decline and most businesses returned to full capacity. Life is starting to look more normal. For Chief Busey, that means seeing his mom more often.

“My mother lives in an assisted-living facility so that created some problems,” he said. “I wasn’t able to just stop in and see her as often. Getting her in and out for medical appointments was a little more cumbersome.”

Now those restrictions have begun to ease.

“I can’t go sit and have dinner with her, but I can take her from the facility, and we can go do something,” he said. “So that’s been nice.”

It’s been a long pandemic for all of us, he said, and he’s hoping the vaccine will get us back on track. More than anything, he’s hopeful we can work to put much of the stresses of the past year behind us.

“I just hope people relax,” he said. “Get vaccinated, relax and let’s get back to living.”

Find your dose. 

Find your vaccination today at tpchd.org/vaxtothefuture. Everyone 12 and older is eligible. You can register online or just drop in at any clinic and get vaccinated without an appointment. 

If you need a ride to an appointment or can’t easily leave your home, we can help! Call us at (253) 649-1412, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., 7 days a week.

Your role to stop the spread of COVID-19 remains critical.