Sheriff’s office increases patrols, adds measures to protect citizens and officers
To serve and protect – SLO County Sheriff’s Office is on the job
- Deputies act to create ‘peace’
- Patrolling closed businesses
- Temperatures checked before shifts
- All arrestees tested for COVID-19
–In response to the COVID-19 crisis, the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Office is overlapping shifts, putting more deputies on the road to serve and protect the community. Sergeant Jason Caron from the Sheriff’s Office Templeton station said shifts have been extended from 10 hours to 12 hours. The additional hours per shift means more deputies are available to help where they are needed.
Extended shifts are not the only way the department has stepped up. “We are trying to be peace officers,” said Caron, “and find solutions to help resolve situations.” This does not mean deputies won’t take action as needed. Arrests still happen when necessary. An arrested person is now provided with a mask and is tested for COVID-19 before being admitted to the county jail.
“No one we have arrested has tested positive yet,” said Caron. If that ever happens the person would be admitted to the hospital just as with any other illness or injury. Additional law enforcement resources are assigned to keeping a hospitalized prisoner under guard.
Caron said everyone who comes to work has their temperature taken before starting work. “We maintain personal distance as much possible during our contact with the public and we are equipped with masks, face shields, gloves, gowns and sanitizing supplies.” The department has enough of these supplies for now, but supplies are limited just as they are for medical and other first responder personnel.
The increased patrols monitor non-essential businesses that are now closed and more vulnerable to crime. As people are becoming more vigilant of strange vehicles and unusual people in their neighborhoods, the sheriff’s office has more patrol units to respond to calls.
Deputies have the authority to cite or arrest, people who are gathering and violating the personal distance order, but rarely need to do so. Most of the gatherings that are reported as potential problems turn out to be family groups. If a warning is necessary the groups usually break up without incident. The sheriff’s office also has the authority to warn non-essential businesses that haven’t closed. After the third written warning a report is sent to code enforcement at the San Luis Obispo County Planning and Building department. Non-essential businesses risk losing their business license by trying to remain open.
The sheriff’s office recently expanded the free Smart911 program, making it possible for individuals to help first responders have key information about every person in the family who may need assistance.
“We are still here for the community,” said Caron. “We are all in this together and the goal is for all of us to make it through this safely.”