Sheriff discusses enforcement during pandemic

The Los Angeles County Sheriff's station is implementing new measures to adapt to the coronavirus pandemic. March 17, 2020. Bobby Block / The Signal.
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Although a number of businesses and establishments have made the decision to close in light of the coronavirus pandemic, deputies at the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station remain on patrol, officials assured the public this week.

“We have deputies doing extra patrol checks, not only at areas that more crowds are at, like grocery stores and takeout restaurants, for safety, but other things, too,” said Shirley Miller, a spokeswoman for the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station. “We’re also going to watch closed businesses, too.”

Miller said deputies are well aware of the situation the coronavirus has caused at local businesses, and the station plans to adapt to the situation.

“Just like they do night-time checks of closed businesses, it’s still going to be on their radar that if businesses are closed, they’ll be watching out for them,” said Miller.

In a news conference Monday, Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villaneuva said the Sheriff’s Department was planning on reducing arrests in order to minimize the number of people in custody. Instead, they would issue more citations.

Villanueva said, though, that the department, in order to increase availability, has canceled vacations of all personnel from now all the way through the end of April.

Field deputies have also been provided with personal protective equipment, of which Villanueuva said the department has sufficient inventory. The items used by deputies will include masks, gloves, goggles and sanitizers.

“Over the weekend, we’ve had several of our personnel come into contact, and they have been self-isolated,” said Villanueva. “Fortunately, no one is actually testing positive for the virus.”

The non-essential personnel throughout the department are now being redeployed to custody and patrol operations, and deputies are going to increase their presence in the field.

“We’re fully staffed and we still have the same limited access to the public lobby,” said Miller. “It’s unlocked but really we’re telling the public to call, unless it’s an emergency.”

Last week, the SCV Sheriff’s Station announced that it would continue to hold its operations in the field, but would be closing its front lobby to the public, a policy that remains in effect through this week.

“We are trying to cut down on some of the routine traffic that comes into our station just for the public’s health and also our personnel,” said Miller.

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