While fire and medical personnel have been and continue to be affected by the potential for COVID-19 exposure, local law enforcement say their jobs haven’t changed all that much.
Sheriff’s Detective Josh Ford said officers have also stocked up on masks and are being very careful when it comes to making contact with people, but overall, not much will change. However, the Sheriff’s Office lobby is closed until further notice.
“The procedures for us are primarily geared around protecting the public, ourselves and our inmate population. We’ve set in place a variety of safeguards, to include PPE, which will assist us in making sure that we are as safe as possible, during any field contacts,” Ford said Tuesday. “With that being said, we are still investigating crimes and responding to calls for service, we’re just attempting to do that in the safest manner possible, for both our deputies and the public.”
“Dispatch will continue to answer your calls for service and deputies will respond,” according to a TCSO release.” Administration and Records staff will still be working and able to assist you by phone, fax, email or mail.
The public is asked to restrict any visit to the Sheriff’s Office to essential business only. Required registration will continue to be processed through the jail lobby. Reports can be made on the phone, email, or in the jail lobby.
“Some of the non-essential services that have been suspended include livescan fingerprinting, CCW initial, renewals, or interviews, ABC permits, firearms licenses, and explosive permits.”
California Highway Patrol and its officers are not changing protocols much either. CHP Information Officer Thomas Frank said the governor has not issued an order to enforce the stay at home order. Unless that happens, CHP is advising motorists to heed warnings and self regulate when it comes to essential outdoor activities.
He said CHP’s mission remains unchanged in regard to traffic enforcement and will respond to all traffic collisions and will take appropriate action regarding violations.
As for the safety of responding officer, only small changes apply.
“We’re washing our hands,” he said, “a lot.” As for officer protection during vehicle stops, Frank said officers will continue to contact drivers from the safest location and won’t go into a vehicle unless they have to.
Ford said the mission of the Sheriff’s Office also remains, but deputies also need to use caution.
“Obviously the events are changing relatively rapidly, but we at the Sheriff’s Office are committed to protecting the public in all regards,” he said. “We are still investigating every reported crime and are arresting individuals as appropriate; however, we’re attempting to be as safe as possible while doing so. Although we are always geared towards safe operating practices, we are growing ever more vigilant in our own actions and how our operating practices may impact the spread of COVID-19.”