Text me and let me help you! Community police officer serves through WeChat
Gu Xiaofen, a community police officer in Minhang District, has 2,477 friends on her WeChat account, 80 percent of them residents of the community where she serves.
The 42-year-old officer of Pujin Road Police Station has been very busy these days as the three residential complexes she serves have been under lockdown due to COVID-19 pandemic control measures.
"I'm busier when I'm working from home and not wearing the protection suit because I have more time to respond to people who seek help from me on WeChat," she said.
Gu was working 12 hours on the ground and resting at the police station the rest of the day before she started to work from home on March 19 with colleagues stepping in for her.
Around Shanghai, community police officers now connect with people they serve via WeChat groups, but Gu is one of those who are more active in using the popular social networking tool in her work.
She now communicates with residents she serves through 73 groups and estimates that she can reach out to over 10,000 people through them.
"I'm also a daughter and a mother, so I take great interest in joining people in various groups where they discuss children's education, child raising, pets and entertainment, among others," she said.
Gu has also set up groups for different types of people, such as owners and workers of shops around the residential complexes and landlords of rented apartments.
Noting that people who are tenants in the locked-down communities are often not found in property owners' groups and could miss out on some important notices sent in those groups, Gu now directly sends the notices to their landlords and asks them to notify their tenants.
About 30 percent of residents on her friends' list, she revealed, are people from other residential complexes, and she never hesitates to respond to their requests, too.
Under the lockdown, Gu is busier than ever, sending notices and reminders to people on her WeChat and addressing their various needs.
Among her friends, 55 are expats. Gu said she communicates with them seamlessly using the translation function on WeChat.
Just on Monday, she twice helped a family from Chile that lives at Pujiangyicheng.
First, she received a message from them in which they wanted to know how to do grocery shopping near the residential complex since they had run out of food stock and didn't speak Chinese. Gu helped to connect them with English-speaking volunteers through the property management firm and the community residential committee.
A pregnant lady in the family then texted that she had a doctor's appointment at a hospital in Xuhui District on Wednesday during her 33rd week of pregnancy and was not sure whether she could meet it.
Gu relayed her case to the residential committee, and as a result the lady got approval to attend her appointment with negative PCR results, if the residential complex was still under lockdown at the time.
Apart from concrete needs, some residents have also sought her out just to express their anxiety under lockdown.
In such cases, Gu would empathize with their feelings and patiently explain to them the measures in place.
"I tell them I also hope that life will return to normal for us all as soon as possible, but most of all we need to ensure that our neighbors are safe," she stated.
The pandemic, Gu pointed out, has weighed her down, but her role as a police officer is to work together with others to help everyone weather the adverse situation "in a community that's never short of helping hands and empathy whatever happens."