Carter County Sheriff’s Office implements temporary changes in response to COVID-19

Sierra Rains
File photo from the Carter County Sheriff's office.

The Carter County Sheriff’s Office will be making a few temporary changes to daily operations in response to the current COVID-19 pandemic.

In a statement released Friday, March 20, Carter County Sheriff Chris Bryant said all face-to-face visitation and on-site video kiosk visitation has been suspended, also including any outside visitation and church services.

Processing of SDA gun permits and fingerprinting services have also been temporarily suspended.

“The biggest thing is keeping our folks safe— keeping our families safe, keeping our friends safe and everything like that and that’s the reason they want us to practice social distancing,” Bryant said.

Bryant further stated that a screening process has been put in place at the Carter County Detention Center in order to assess the health of those being booked in and test them for COVID-19.

Each individual booked in during this time will be placed into an individual cell and will be thoroughly assessed by a nurse. In the event that an inmate does test positive for COVID-19, Bryant said the facility has the capability of creating a “quarantine pod” with individual cells.

Each arrest and warrant is being evaluated to determine the need to detain the suspect and contractual holds for municipal warrants have temporarily been suspended.

In the statement, Bryant said assigned trustees are cleaning and sanitizing common areas, individual cell pods, and all hard surfaces in courtrooms. Staff members are also being monitored daily for potential COVID-19 symptoms.

“Should a member of our staff be exposed to a person that has been diagnosed to have the coronavirus, a decontamination procedure will be followed,” the statement read.

Carter County deputies are still patrolling and responding to calls as needed, Bryant said. However, it is preferred that calls be handled over the phone if possible. Reports can be taken over the phone if there is not a need to meet in person and statements can be faxed or emailed.

According to the statement, the Carter County Sheriff’s Office is continuously monitoring information from the CDC, Oklahoma State Department of Health and the detention center’s health care provider, Turn Key Health.

The current changes to daily operations will be re-evaluated and adjusted accordingly in 30 days to fit the needs of staff, detainees and the public, Bryant said.

“The protection of the citizens of this county is our top priority and we want to make sure that people understand that we’re here and we are monitoring everything from the state all the way down to the county and we are trying to do everything that we can,” Bryant said. “The only thing that we can do is try to get in front of it as much as we can.”