Media Release from the Alachua County Sheriff's Office

Media Advisory 2020-020: Media Advisory – covid-19

For Immediate Release:
Today’s Date:  March 17, 2020
Prepared by:  PIO Sgt. Frank Kinsey

Following the State of Emergency issued in response to Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) in Florida and the United States, the Alachua County Sheriff’s Office has suspended several functions to support the statewide initiative of “Physical Distancing”.  Effective immediately (March 17, 2020) the following changes are being implemented.

Combined Communication Center: A representative from the Alachua County Fire Rescue is administering a COVID-19 screening/questionnaire for all employees, vendors, and guests.

Main Administration Building: All guests, visitors, and vendors that require access to the secure area of the main building will be directed to the Combined Communications Center.A representative from the Alachua County Fire Rescue will administer a COVID-19 screening/questionnaire before they will be allowed in the main administration building.

Office of the Sheriff:

TISSB (Victim Services): Victim Advocates have suspended face-to-face contact with their clients; all business is being conducted by phone.

Human Resources: All interviews and polygraphs have been suspended and none are currently being scheduled.  The office is still open for questions and business will be conducted by phone.

Crime Prevention Unit: All community events have been suspended to include RAD, RADkids, or any crime prevention presentations.

Department of Operations:

Training Division: All agency in-service training has been canceled.

Civil Bureau: As of today, there will be no suspension of any services provided. Civil processes will continue as normal, until an order is issued by Court Administrators or the Chief Judge.

Warrants Bureau: As of today, there will be no suspension of any services provided.

Court Security: The courthouse is still open, but is limiting events.  We have been notified that all jury selection, jury trials, and grand jury proceedings are suspended.  All county and circuit criminal events are suspended with the exception of first appearance, bond reduction, Change of Plea, and urgent motions. All hearings shall be conducted by electronic means or be continued, with the exception of juvenile detention hearings, Domestic Violence Injunction hearings.  These changes will continue through March 27, 2020 at 5:00 pm.

Patrol Operations: There will be no interruption of services to the public. Deputies and field service technicians have been provided guidelines for citizen contact.  All citizen Ride-Along programs have been suspended.

Patrol Support: Members of the Juvenile Relations Bureau (school resource deputies) have been reallocated to areas within the agency or are using personal leave.  Youth and Community Resource Units (YCRU) has suspended all community events. Teen Court has suspended all events; however, intake will still occur and phone contact with parents and youth will still occur.

Department of Support Services:

  Criminal Investigations Division: There will be no interruption of services to the public.

False Alarm Reduction Unit: Suspended their monthly class, the office is still open for questions and payments by phone.

Communications: All employee/guests/out-side vendors will be screened using the Screening Guidance for FDEM and the SEOC provided by the Florida Division of Emergency Management.

Records Bureau: Suspending all fingerprinting activities.  The front lobby will be open, but we are requesting that all business be conducted by phone.

Property/Facilities: All deliveries will be accepted without vendors entering the physical building. Evidence unit has suspended all activities to the public, the office will be open and we are requesting that business be conducted by phone.

Department of the Jail:

Support Services:  Inmate onsite visitation will be canceled effective March 18th.  Each inmate will be entitled to one free internet visitation (15 minutes in length) per week until further notice. Eligible Inmates are allowed two (paid) internet visits per week in addition to the one free visit. Each Inmate will be entitled to two free calls per week until further notice.

Offender Registration: All criminal registration is still ongoing during normal lobby hours.

We thank the residents of Alachua County for their support and understanding as we take proactive measures to protect our employees and the public. No end date has been set for the listed changes and we will work with the Department of Health on when to resume normal operations.

ACSO 96-47 04/98