If you visit the sheriff’s office these days, a member of the medical staff might ask to take your temperature.

With a population of inmates in a confined space, Sheriff Phil Sims is doing everything he can to keep COVID-19 out of the facility.

“We have to make sure our facility is as clean and secure as possible,” the sheriff said. “We are taking certain steps using our medical staff.”

It’s not just visitors to the jail.

“We are screening the employees at the start of every shift,” Sheriff Sims said. “The main thing we are looking for is whether they are running a fever. We have implemented the CDC recommendations with hand washing and sanitizer. Crews are constantly cleaning the building all day long.”

Contractors working on the jail renovation go through the same screening. The sheriff’s staff is taking no chances.

“If someone has to come in our building, we are taking their temperature,” Sheriff Sims said. “The jail is a confined space. If it got in the cellblocks, we’d have problems. We are doing all we can do to make sure it doesn’t come in.”

The public still has access to the temporary lobby in the trailer in the parking lot of the jail. But Sheriff Sims is urging people to do as much business as they can, such as applying for a pistol permit, online.

“We can mail your pistol permit to you if you want,” he said.

New inmates who’ve just been arrested are being screened too.

“We’re being very picky,” Sheriff Sims said.

Sometimes, people will show up at the sheriff’s office to file a police report. Sheriff Sims said they prefer that people call in saying they need to file a report.

“We will send a deputy to you,” he said.

Court has shut down but the newly arrested still must make first appearances in court. Sheriff Sims said they’re doing that over Skype and Facetime with their video iPads.

Sheriff Sims’ deputies are helping keep the Courthouse locked down too after the County Commission voted Monday to close it to the public.

“You have to have a formal appointment to go in the Courthouse now,” Sheriff Sims said. “There has to be a special circumstance for you to get a formal appointment.”

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