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Colusa County law enforcement agencies are making some adjustments to the way they serve the public while keeping their personnel – as well as inmates in jail – from contracting and spreading coronavirus.
“For the most part, we are business as usual,” said Assistant Sheriff Mike Bradwell. “We are here to support our community and enforce the law.”
While the Colusa County Sheriff’s Office, the Colusa Police Department, and the Williams Police Department have made some changes to their front desk services, law enforcement will continue 24 hours per day.
Office staff at the Colusa Police Department can be contacted by telephone, except for business that require an in-person meeting, including but not limited to the release of property or vehicles and offender registration as required by law.
The same procedures and exemptions begin today at the Williams Police Department.
“Rest assured, we will still respond to crimes in progress or a crime in need of immediate follow up,” said Williams Police Chief Jim Saso, in a statement. “Our police officers may also use their discretion in responding to calls for services that require social contact. Officers may call the reporting party and take necessary reports over the phone.”
Colusa Police Chief Josh Fitch said his officers will do the same, while also maintaining regular patrols.
“These operational changes are an effort to reduce contact between members of the public and department personnel to maintain the heath and safety of our workforce and members of the public,” Fitch said, in a statement.
Bradwell said precautionary measures to decrease exposure to staff, as well as inmates, is vital to security and operations of the Sheriff’s Office.
For the 67 inmates at the local jail, it may get a bit lonelier without an in-person visit from their loved ones, but the county is taking their health and safety seriously.
“At this time, there are no COVID-19 cases or known exposures at the Colusa County jail,” Bradwell said. “However, we are fully aware of the high danger the spread of this virus poses to the inmate population and our staff.”
Bradwell said as a precaution, the Sheriff’s Office has implemented additional screening during the inmate intake process, prior to booking and admitting. They have also suspended all visits as well as jail programs such as AA, NA and the Inmate Education Program.
“Inmates will still have the capability to use the phone services,” Bradwell said. “Additional phone services have been approved within the jail to support the increased need.”
The current jail population is 67, with no immediate plans to release any inmates early, although the county does have a contingency plan in place if that time comes, Bradwell said.
There is also no extraordinary measures being taken for the inmate population at this time beyond the normal health and safety protocols that keep the general public from getting ill, such as hand washing and keeping personal distances.
As far as age risk factors, only two inmates are age 60 or older and none are over the age of 65, Bradwell said.
The new guidelines to reduce contact between members of local law enforcement agencies are temporary, officials said.
The Colusa County Sheriff’s Department can be reached at 458-0200.
The Colusa Police Department can be reached at 458-7777 and the Williams Police Department at 473-2661. ■