From the Bossier Sheriff’s Office:
Bossier Sheriff Julian Whittington announces an update on the impact of services of the Bossier Sheriff’s Office due to the COVID-19 Coronavirus.
“Our top priority as your Sheriff’s Office is to keep our community safe,” said Sheriff Whittington. “While this virus will impact our daily operations, we will maintain our commitment to public safety and provide courteous, professional, and responsive service during this unprecedented crisis.”
Here is a breakdown of services that will be impacted and any changes in our operations with the Bossier Sheriff’s Office in order to keep our deputies, staff, Posse, and public safe:
• All deputies and staff members will be screened daily before entering the facility by having their body temperature taken.
• All inmates upon booking will be isolated until they receive a medical screening by Corrections medical staff.
• Video visitation will continue as usual.
• Visits by religious volunteers are suspended at this time.
• Visits by attorneys will continue, but without physical contact.
• ART and Viking Drive Substations remain open with normal business hours
• Sheriff Whittington has re-opened the Drive-Thru service at the back of the Criminal Building, located at 196 Burt Blvd., to allow patrons to pay fines, tickets, and taxes in a convenient, non-face-to-face transaction.
• Bossier Parish Sheriff’s Training Academy continues to train recruits, but has moved into a bigger classroom with more space between recruits, while also sanitizing the classrooms daily.
• All staff members, recruits, and training participants entering the academy building will be screened prior to entry by having the temperature taken.
• Graduation for Class 022 is scheduled for April 24, but that may need to be adjusted based on circumstances at that time.
• Bossier Sheriff’s Young Marines and Youth Diversion programs are temporarily suspended.
School Resource Officers:
• SROs will continue to work at schools where the food delivery is being conducted.
Operation Blessing Food Bank Program:
• The Food Bank program will operate normal hours by the Sheriff’s Office Posse and Ladies’ Auxiliary, with one exception: In order to minimize face-to-face interaction, volunteers will meet the patrons outside to deliver the food.
• Employment testing that was scheduled for March 20 has been postponed, and applicants will be notified of the next testing availability.
Bossier Sheriff’s Office Conference Calls:
• Sheriff Whittington initiated a system to conduct conference calls for employees at the Bossier Sheriff’s Office in order to reduce face-to-face meetings.
Bossier Parish Courthouse:
• The courthouse will remain open, according to the Bossier Parish Police Jury…but with some changes, as precautions are being taken to safeguard employees and persons who must come to the courthouse.
• In compliance with the General Order by the 26th Judicial District Court encompassing Bossier and Webster parishes, a General Order has been issued affecting court activities. Specifically, beginning March 19 at 8 a.m. and continuing through Friday, April 10 until 5 p.m., the General Order mandates that all jury trials, both civil and criminal, will be continued and will be reconvened by Order.
• All grand jury proceedings in the 26th Judicial District are continued and will be reset by Order. All criminal trials, hearings and court appearances will be continued and will be reset by Order or notice from the District Attorney. Exceptions include initial appearances (72 hour hearings), arraignments for incarcerated persons only and bond hearings.
• All hearings for incarcerated individuals will be via video unless otherwise directed by the Court.
• Bossier Parish Police Jury maintenance workers are disinfecting common areas (bathrooms, hallways, etc.) and offices daily. Offices have been supplied with sanitary handwipes and hand sanitizer for both employee and public use.
• Parish officials have asked that no large groups of individuals visit the courthouse until further notice, and suggest that persons use their phones, the parish web site and other social media to conduct business they may have with the parish.
• Sheriff Whittington also encourages anyone who is concerned about their upcoming court appearance to please call the Bossier Sheriff’s Office at (318) 965-3411 for assistance.
Sheriff Whittington says these are unprecedented times and asks for your patience and understanding as we all deal with this emerging threat.
“I encourage our residents to heed President Trump and Governor Edwards’ recommendations to limit interaction and use common sense during this time,” said Sheriff Whittington. “We should limit size of gatherings to fewer than 50 people. Bars, casinos, gyms, health clubs, movie theaters, and restaurants (except for take-out or delivery) will be closed. These actions will help decrease the community spread of COVID-19,” Sheriff reiterated.
“As the governor said, now is the time for seriousness, and there is no place for panic or hysteria,” said Sheriff Whittington. “In addition to the things I’ve already mentioned, I’d encourage our residents to maintain proper hygiene by (1) staying home if you are sick; (2) covering your cough or sneeze; (3) washing your hands frequently and thoroughly with soap and water, or use hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol if soap isn’t available; (4) and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces.
You can also find out more information from these sources:
• Louisiana Department of Health
• Centers for Disease Control and Prevention