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Buckingham County Sheriff’s Office implements new procedures due to virus

The Buckingham County Sheriff’s Office distributed a release Tuesday, March 17, detailing new procedures being implemented in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In the release, the sheriff’s office requests the public’s cooperation when calling emergency services to alert law enforcement personnel if they have symptoms consistent with COVID-19, also called the novel coronavirus. 

When dialing 911, callers should be prepared to answer a short series of questions from the 911 dispatcher to determine if they have been exposed to or have traveled recently to an area of high risk for the virus so that dispatchers can ensure an appropriate response. 

Law enforcement, the release highlights, will respond to any life-threatening and/or emergency calls. However, if a member of the public is calling to report an incident that is not life-threatening and not in progress, a phone report will be taken. Deputies will still respond to these calls for service, as needed. 

The office announced that, effective immediately, fingerprints for employment background checks will not be provided until further notice. Residents are asked to call the sheriff’s office before coming into the physical office in order to determine if needs can be handled via the phone. 

“We are asking for the community’s understanding and assistance with limiting in-person

contact as much as possible by allowing deputies to obtain information via phone for all

Investigations,” the release stated. “If there is evidence of a crime that can be gathered by deputies, they will respond to that location and process the scene.”

The release emphasized that the only change consists of deputies conducting interviews by phone when possible in order to obtain necessary information to begin their investigation. The change serves as a way to limit in-person contact as much as possible for the protection of both the community and sheriff’s office employees in reference to the pandemic.