FORREST COUNTY, Miss. (WDAM) - COVID-19 has impacted every part of our daily lives, and for law enforcement, that’s no different.
The Forrest County Sheriff’s Office is just one example of how agencies are adapting during the pandemic.
“Since coronavirus, we’ve stocked up on PPE masks, gloves, even went out and got eye protection,” Forrest County Sheriff Charlie Sims said.
During the stay at home order, his deputies were required to wear PPE when coming into contact with the public.
“As it went along and numbers started falling off a little bit or leveling out, we’ve rolled that back to giving the deputies the discretion,” Sims said. “You know, we give them the discretion on everything else.”
Dispatch now screens folks calling for service to see if they could have the virus.
“We know our positive COVID responses and if we get a call to those addresses, we’ll inform the deputy so they can go ahead and put on all the required PPE in those cases,” Sims said.
As far as social distancing, Sims says deputies are used to keeping their distance.
“In law enforcement, we keep a safe distance anyway,” Sims said. “We keep a reactionary gap, so that’s standard for them. Social distancing has always been in their vocabulary.”
Since restrictions have eased, the department has received more calls for service.
“We’ve seen an uptick in officer or deputy initiated things, so they’re starting to open up more,” Sims said.
Sims added that some of the momentum he was gaining after being elected slowed down when the virus hit, but he’s seeing that pick back up.