COVID-19 Sheriff Reassures Residents; “Let’s Be Prepared, Not Scared”
During a press conference on Monday, March 16, 2020, at the Hall of Justice, Sheriff Alex Villanueva stated his reassurance that the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department is working hard to ensure law enforcement services in the areas we serve remain uninterrupted by the coronavirus.
The County Emergency Operations Center (CEOC) remains open at a Level I status, fully-staffed with knowledgeable experts from other L.A. County departments. Our Department continues to collaborate with local agencies, monitor world events and provide the most up-to-date information to the public.
Through innovative and creative measures, Sheriff Villanueva was adamant about keeping staff levels up and the inmate population count down. Staff vacations were cancelled through the end of April to ensure more personnel are on-hand, and those working non-essential assignments can be temporarily moved to custody or patrol assignments to offset and augment manpower shortages. This decision is particularly helpful for coverage, as a small number of personnel were self-quarantined over the weekend.
The Sheriff raised the aggregate bail amount for booking inmates raised from $25,000 to $50,000, which allows more people to receive citations, rather than get booked into custody. This reduces the number of people entering our jail facilities, therefore lowering chances of the virus being introduced into that environment. Out of the 16,459 inmates in today’s morning count, there were zero confirmed cases of coronavirus. Nine inmates are in isolation housing, 21 inmates are in quarantine at Men’s Central Jail, and five inmates are in quarantine at Twin Towers Correctional Facility.
Personal protective equipment was issued to field personnel. Inventory of these supplies was bulked-up, with a likely request to follow for the release of Service and Supply funds, to address the ongoing need for more items, such as masks, gloves, goggles, and sanitizer. Patrol station and custody facility unit commanders were directed to sanitize their stations and jails as a preventative measure. Personnel are reminded to be cognizant of hand-washing, don personal protective equipment, covering sneezes, not touching their faces, and practice social distancing while off-duty.
Despite all county buildings being ordered to close their doors to the public, Sheriff Villanueva directed all patrol stations to keep their lobbies open. He encouraged the use of online reporting for non-emergent, qualifying incidents, as outlined here: http://shq.lasdnews.net/shq/SORTS/sorts_intro.aspx or calling your local patrol station. He also asked that those who must visit a patrol station for services, such as regularly-scheduled child custody exchanges or compliance check-ins, to notify deputies if they are experiencing flu-like symptoms, fever or respiratory illness so they can take precautionary measures.
Residents are reminded to follow protective protocols prescribed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as found here: https://bit.ly/3d6fDAQ and here: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prepare/prevention.html
As events occur, information regarding public safety and other services will be provided by our agency and updated on several platforms. Please monitor our social media sites, @LASDHQ on Twitter, @LosAngelesCountySheriffDepartment on Facebook, and our https://lasd.org/ website for up-to-date information.
Stay connected, remain composed and we will get through this together.