Most agencies have had to adjust their procedures in response to the novel coronavirus 2019 pandemic, with law enforcement in particular walking a thin line between doing their duty and preventing the spread of the virus.

Dallas County Sheriff Chad Leonard says his office has changed their methods for policing the area, including encouraging cite and release for lesser crimes. Leonard says it can be difficult for officers and staff to execute proper social distancing on the job, but emphasizes they’re doing what they can. “Well, we did shut the doors for the public. (Admittance) will be on a case-by-case basis depending on what it is they’re needing. Everything that we do here at the Sheriff’s Office can be done online (like) weapons permits (and) there’s different rules for sex offenders checking in. And then the jail procedures and stuff, we’ve had to communicate a lot more with our partners in law enforcement to make sure they know the new procedures for the jail. So we’re just doing everything we can do to limit the amount of time that there are interactions with people, so we can do our part in trying to eliminate this (spread) from happening.”

Leonard adds, they’ve relied on dispatch to ask wellness questions of callers before sending emergency responders anywhere, and he feels they’ve done a good job in that regard. To learn more about how the Sheriff’s Office is dealing with COVID-19, listen to today’s Perry Fareway Let’s Talk Dallas County program on air and at RaccoonValleyRadio.com.