Sheriff’s office adjusts policies, prepares for spread

XENIA — The Greene County Sheriff’s Office has changed some policies in an effort to protect its employees, inmates and the public from the spread of the coronavirus.

Sheriff Gene Fischer said the office has issued personal protective equipment to each employee. The office is adhering to Ohio Department of Health’s guidance — social distancing, frequent hand washing, taking the temperature of employees upon arrival at work, and staying away from people with symptoms.

“The Greene County Sheriff’s Office is still on the job and working with our local courts to maintain a safe environment for our citizens,” Fischer wrote in an email.

Deputies are handling some calls over the phones; callers may be asked first if the situation can be handled that way. Other citizens may be asked to step outside of their home to see the deputy rather than inviting the deputy inside.

“These efforts hopefully will reduce the opportunity to spread the virus to the deputy or an unknowingly infected deputy passing the virus to the caller,” Fischer said.

Transportation of people in cruisers and at the station has stopped, and visits within secure areas of the facilities have been greatly reduced.

Background checks using Civilian Fingerprint Cards have been suspended. The carrying a concealed weapon (CCW) window remains active but the equipment has been moved to the small lobby to protect employees in that area.

The sheriff sale scheduled for March 26 has been canceled as all properties have been withdrawn by attorneys, according to the department’s website.

Visitations at the jails, both the downtown jail and Adult Detention Center, have been suspended in accordance with the order signed by Ohio Department of Health Director Dr. Amy Acton March 15. The office is taking steps to allow for increased use of phones to accommodate families.

Fischer said the Corrections Division is also checking employees for fevers and COVID-19 symptoms. As of Friday, three employees had been sent home with one negative test returned, Fischer reported.

Incoming inmates are answering a new set of questions related to the virus as well as undergoing fever checks upon entrance to the facility.

“There have been some early releases accomplished with the help of the courts to allow the inmates the opportunity to fight possibility of contracting the virus from their homes instead of at the jail,” Fischer added. “We have been in contact with the health department as well as our jail doctor to prepare to provide the coverage needed should anyone in the jail contract the virus.”

Most outside contractors and programs conducted within the jail have been suspended.

To sign up for Nixle alerts from the sheriff’s office and Greene County Public Health about COVID-19, text 29COVID19 to 888777.


By Anna Bolton

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Call 937-502-4498 or follow Anna Bolton, Reporter on Facebook.