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UPDATES: Coronavirus Precautions At Volusia Sheriff's Office

Date Added: March 18, 2020 1:38 pm

UPDATES: Coronavirus Precautions At Volusia Sheriff's Office Image

Andrew Gant
Office of Public Affairs & Media Relations

UPDATE: Here’s a progress report on some of the things the Volusia Sheriff’s Office is doing in response to coronavirus, in addition to what we sent out earlier (see below).

Sheriff Chitwood is working with the Florida Sheriffs Association on emergency testing for any first responder who has reason to believe he or she came in contact with coronavirus. This kind of testing is important not only for the health of our deputies, police, fire and EMS, but for public safety as a whole. We don’t want to be carriers that spread COVID-19 into a vulnerable person’s home, and we don’t want to have to pull large numbers of deputies off duty because they were exposed or potentially exposed.

As mentioned previously, we increased the number of light-duty deputies available at district offices to take phone-in and walk-in reports of non-emergency, not-in-progress cases. Many of these initial reports can be made without making face-to-face contact with a deputy, and that reduces the potential for community spread. Also, if circumstances allow, a deputy may ask you to come outdoors rather than stepping inside your home. This is just another precautionary step, when it makes sense. You still need to call 911 in an emergency, though. We will be there.

We’re continuing to update our CAD system with a regularly updated list of locations that are being monitored by the Department of Health. The latest number was 47. We aren’t able to release the specific addresses, and we don’t know which ones are confirmed cases and which ones are simply being monitored because they meet certain criteria.

We’re taking social distancing seriously wherever possible, and we’re continuing to clean, sanitize, wipe down surfaces, etc. Personal protective gear, sanitizer and cleaning supplies are all priority items for us right now.

Fingerprinting services at the Sheriff’s Operations Center are suspended until April 6. All scheduled appointments have been contacted and rescheduled. However, our Career Criminal Unit and Latent Print Unit will continue to register career criminals, sex offenders and predators.

At our Communications Center, we’re keeping our telecommunicators spread out, and we’re restricting access points and putting sanitizing stations at each entrance. We have a 24/7 contact to decontaminate the facility if needed, and we are working on acquiring a blue light air treatment system to eliminate viral spread in the air handling system. We’re also working on emergency staffing scenarios similar to what we put in place during hurricanes.

Our Information Technology staff are working hard on providing as many options as possible for working and meeting remotely. We have video conferencing available on our phones and teleconferencing available for all meetings. Our Wednesday morning crime meeting was held via teleconference with members from all districts across the agency. I.T. is also preparing a supply of laptops for those who don’t already have them, and hotspots for those who need remote Internet access.

In our Records division, we’re implementing digital intake of reports. Instead of bringing in stacks of paper reports, deputies are scanning them and submitting them electronically for processing to avoid unnecessary contact with staff.

Even Human Resources is using remote options like GoToMeeting to conduct interviews. We’re still hiring!

We are working on various operations plans to monitor juvenile offenders who are now out of school for an extended period of time.

Most importantly, Sheriff Chitwood is asking everyone on our team to get plenty of rest and do everything possible to stay healthy, not just for our own sake, but for the sake of everyone around us. The public can help us out by doing the same. Take this seriously and follow the advice of the Florida Department of Health, Volusia County Emergency Management, the CDC and your doctor, and we’ll all get through this together!

ALSO: A state of emergency is prime time for scammers. They'll call, text and email you claiming to be with the Health Department, the CDC, law enforcement, you name it. One scam going around right now claims to offer you a reservation for a COVID-19 vaccine. They just want your money and your personal information.

With so many people using remote connections to work from home right now, expect an uptick in hacking activity and other cybersecurity threats. One way hackers attempt to gain entry is to send legitimate-looking emails with links for you to click. Again, they'll pose as government officials. Just be careful, and if in doubt, skip the link and try going directly to the source itself to find the information you need.

EARLIER: Here’s some similar info we posted Monday on precautionary measures around the agency.

As mentioned last week, we’re placing light-duty deputies at each district office during Monday-Friday dayshift to take phone calls and walk-in reports of NON-emergency cases that are NOT in progress and have no suspect identified. Night shift will also dedicate personnel from each shift to perform this function from their vehicle and/or district office. For a list of phone numbers and locations, along with a link to a witness statement form, go to our website. (The list is also at the bottom of this post.)

You should still call 911 in an emergency. If you’re not sure, be safe and call 911.

Sheriff Mike Chitwood is continuing to post updates as he gets them on his social media accounts. Follow Volusia County Emergency Management and the Florida Department of Health (DOH) for local and state updates as they're released. And follow the CDC for guidance on a national level.

We’re developing a health questionnaire for arrestees to determine if they have any signs or symptoms of infection.

At our Communications Center, we’re asking screening questions on all medical calls. We’re suspending tours of the Comms Center for now. We’re also looking at adding an additional UV micro-organism elimination component to the HVAC system.

We’re suspending volunteer programs like the Citizens Observer Program and Explorers.

We’re postponing large events like our Citizens Academy, our Senior Fraud Seminar and Torch Run for Special Olympics. If you were signed up to participate in one of these or other similar events, you should be receiving information. We’re also holding off on any tours of our district offices and other Sheriff’s Office facilities.

We’re suspending in-person group meetings like our weekly crime meetings and monthly CompStat meetings and moving toward teleconferences.

For routine patrol briefings, we’re primarily using email or MDC instead of gathering in person.

When it comes to personal protective equipment, we’ve ordered more masks, gloves, sanitizer gel and alcohol-based wipes. Deputies are regularly decontaminating backseat areas of patrol vehicles and common work stations. We also purchased larger sanitizer stations for public lobby areas.

All non-patrol personnel have uniforms ready and are prepared to fill in for any patrol vacancies in case any deputy has to be quarantined from a shift. So far, that has not been the case.

Please be considerate of your neighbors and be reasonable about the supplies you're buying. Everybody needs toilet paper, water and other essentials - there's a line between getting prepared and hoarding supplies.

Again, we thank you all for your patience and cooperation with us and with health officials. Together we can limit the spread of coronavirus and protect the lives of those who are most vulnerable to it!

Volusia Sheriff's Office District Locations and Phone Numbers:

District 2 (DeLand and northwest Volusia):
1706 S. Woodland Blvd., DeLand

District 2A substation (Pierson)
106 S. Center St., Pierson

District 3-North (Ormond Beach/Holly Hill/Northeast Volusia)
1435 US Hwy 1, Suite D-3, Ormond Beach

District 3-South (New Smyrna Beach/Oak Hill/Southeast Volusia)
101 E. Canal Street, New Smyrna Beach

District 4 (Deltona)
1691 Providence Blvd., Deltona

District 6 (DeBary/Southwest Volusia)
79 S. Charles Beall Blvd., Debary

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