The Clinton County Sheriff’s Office has enacted several changes for both deputies and in the Clinton County Jail as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Clinton County Sheriff Rick Lincoln said sheriff’s deputies are only responding to calls if necessary. He added that prior to responding to a call, the caller is quizzed by telecommunications to determine if the caller has risk factors associated with coronavirus.
“What we’re doing is if a citizen calls for assistance for something not emergent and minor in the grand scheme of things, the deputy will take the report over the phone instead of responding to the scene,” Lincoln said.
Lincoln and Clinton County Attorney Mike Wolf both confirmed citations will be issued more and arrests made less frequently in an effort to limit the population in the county jail as much as possible. The average Clinton County Jail population is 58 inmates, Sgt. Paul Hammond said. Hammond said 28 inmates now are housed in the Clinton County Jail, with an additional five out on electronic monitoring.
Wolf said the issuance of citations still holds subjects responsible but allows them to appear in court through a citation versus an arrest warrant.
“The courts are reviewing different warrants and there’s been use of citations versus warrants at this point,” Wolf said. “It still means (people) have matters to deal with, but instead of having them arrested, they are seen in court the next morning ... People are still being held responsible.”
Lincoln said the sheriff’s office has three medical holding cells to utilize if needed. The medical holding cells are designed to suck air inside and exhaust it to the outside. He said if a person occupying the cell has a disease, the air flow assists in preventing the spread of infection to other people.
Lincoln said the sheriff’s office staff has increased cleaning, specifically of internal handles, phones, keyboards and more public areas.
Lincoln added they already had some protocols in place stemming from the H1N1 swine flu virus spread.
John Rohlf is a Clinton Herald Staff Writer.