3-29 Sheriff's column — Continuing to keep our inmates safe and healthy

By SHERIFF STEVE LAWSON
Posted 3/28/20

As we continue to navigate through the COVID-19 situation one day at a time, I would like to update Bradley County on the procedures we have set in place at the Bradley County Justice …

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3-29 Sheriff's column — Continuing to keep our inmates safe and healthy

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As we continue to navigate through the COVID-19 situation one day at a time, I would like to update Bradley County on the procedures we have set in place at the Bradley County Justice Center.
Above all, our first priority is to continue serving Bradley County as well as we are able. With that comes the responsibility of utilizing the proper protective equipment when interacting with the public; the reasons for this are twofold: to protect the public and our employees from the spread of any illness and to protect the Justice Center as whole from having any illness brought through our doors. It is imperative that we protect the health of our officers and employees so that we can continue serve you, the great residents of our county.
Similarly, we have a responsibility to the inmates housed in our jail here at the Justice Center. There have many concerns in regards to the safety and health of our inmates, which is why I have put and will continue to put very intentional effort into our preventative measures. This first begins with limiting the amount of contact that our corrections officers and inmates have with the world outside of our walls.
As announced on March 12, I set a two week hold on any outside staffing and in-person visitation, with the promise to reconsider this preventative measure March 27.
At the close of the business week (March 27), the decision was made by myself, my command staff and jail administration to extend this hold until further notice.

In light of the Tennessee Supreme Court’s declaration to suspend courts until April 30, I believe it is only appropriate to follow a similar timeline with our preventative measures to ensure the safety and health of our inmates and corrections officers. This hold will be re-evaluated as the COVID-19 situation continues to unfold.
In the interim, I encourage friends and family of inmates in our jail to utilize Securus, our video visitation program. If you do not yet have an account with Securus, go to www.securustech.net to begin.
As your sheriff, I want again encourage everyone to remain calm in the midst of this global event. Please continue to take proactive measures in preventing illness of any kind — not just COVID-19. By maintaining our collective composure, working together and thinking ahead, we will continue to take this one day at a time!
To stay informed on the status of COVID-19, two resources to use are TDOH COVID-19 Public Information Hotline 877-857-2945 (available 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. EST daily) and the webpage https://www.tn.gov/health/cedep/ncov.html (updated at 2 p.m. EST daily).

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