Today, Broward County Sheriff Gregory Tony provided details on what the Broward Sheriff’s Office (BSO) is doing to ensure the safety of its personnel and the public it serves. Regarding Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), Sheriff Tony explained that all deputies have PPE and if they require any extra PPE during a shift, it is provided accordingly. BSO dispatchers are asking a series of questions to identify possible COVID-19 cases before BSO arrives on the scene. That information is relayed to first responders so that they can use the appropriate PPE gear for the call. Additionally, BSO’s civilian staffers are working from home when practical and possible. All employees are screened prior to entering any BSO facility, and work areas are being cleaned on an enhanced schedule.
“I want to assure you that the Broward Sheriff’s Office has enough Personal Protective Equipment to do our job. At BSO, we are constantly monitoring and replenishing our resources so that we continue to have the necessary PPE for the duration of the pandemic,” Sheriff Tony said. “We are committed to holding ourselves to the highest standards of professionalism and accountability, and that has not changed with the coronavirus health crisis. We all have a sworn duty to protect the public, and that starts with making sure that all our deputies are healthy and safe to serve.”
BSO has issued 25,263 N95 masks and 44,773 surgical masks beginning February 1 through April 6, 2020. More than 4,100 bottles of hand sanitizer have been issued during the same period of time.
All BSO commands are diligently monitoring personnel for exposure, and employees are following guidance provided by the Florida Department of Health and the CDC. As of 8:30 a.m., April 7, 36 BSO employees have tested positive for COVID-19 and 300 are currently monitoring. In addition, 210 employees have returned to work after the recommended isolation period. Last week, BSO sadly reported the death of Deputy Shannon Bennett who died April 3.
“We must set the record straight. We are experiencing a global health crisis that is redefining how we do everything at every human level. This is not a time to spread misinformation and unfounded rumors to create division for political and personal agendas. It is despicable that a few individuals are using the death of one of our veteran deputies for political gain. My command staff and I believe in transparency on all levels and are here to answer your questions,” Sheriff Tony concluded.
There are five inmates who have tested positive for COVID-19 at BSO detention facilities. All in-person visitations have ended and have moved to video visitation. All new inmates are screened for COVID-19 before entering the general inmate population. Inmates are instructed on the need to wash their hands, refrain from touching their face and report symptoms immediately.
BROWARD SHERIFF’S OFFICE FACTS ABOUT COVID-19
April 7, 2020
- From February 1 through April 6, the following items have been dispersed to BSO employees:
N95 Masks 25,263
SURGICAL Masks 44,773
Hand Sanitizer 4,109
- BSO has spent an additional $1.3 million securing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) so that agency personnel will have PPE throughout the pandemic.
- All employees are screened before entering a BSO facility and at the beginning of each work shift.
- BSO has moved many services to online or telephone, and all visitors to BSO facilities are screened before allowed entrance.
- BSO implemented remote work capabilities for non-response personnel, unless operationally necessary for staff to work on site.
- BSO is emphasizing social distancing, personal hygiene and cleaning work areas frequently.
- BSO has temporarily limited non-emergency law enforcement functions so long as it doesn’t significantly impact operations.
- BSO is not serving evictions until further notice from the court.
- In each district, sergeants prioritize calls to determine if a deputy’s physical response is required (i.e. violent and emergency calls only) and have instituted Telephone Response Units to handle non-emergency calls for service, including traffic crashes, delayed thefts, noise complaints, fraud, nonviolent offenses, etc.
EFFORTS SPECIFIC TO DEPARTMENT OF DETENTION
- DOD implemented alternatives to arrest for misdemeanors and other low level, nonviolent offenses to include Notice to Appear (NTA), Civil Citation or other diversion resources.
- DOD instituted new in-depth cleaning procedures of all high traffic/high community contact areas within all of our detention facilities with the chemical confirmed effective against the COVID-19.
- DOD suspended all in-person visitations in favor of video visitations.
- All new inmates are screened for COVID-19 before entering the general inmate population.
- All Inmates are instructed on the need to wash their hands, refrain from touching their face and to report symptoms immediately.
BSO AND COVID-19 BY THE NUMBERS (As of 8:30 a.m. April 7, 2020)
- CURRENTLY MONITORING: 300
- CONFIRMED POSITIVES: 36
- RETURNED TO DUTY: 210
- DEATHS: 1