Last week, Tillamook County Sheriff Joshua Brown responded to the surge of COVID-19 cases by implementing some major changes to daily operations.
“Out of concern to protect the public, our staff, inmates and our facilities, the following will be implemented immediately at the Tillamook County Sheriff’s Office,” said Brown.
For the jail, limiting new intakes to serious felonies, domestic violence misdemeanors and other person-to-person type crimes will reduce the number of new people coming into the jail. All new intakes must undergo a 14-day quarantine regardless of vaccination status.
“I am so proud of our medical staff. They were so far ahead of this,” said Jail Commander Lt. Fernando Silveira. “They had been doing a lot to protect staff and inmates even before this recent surge started hitting counties.”
New intakes into the jail receive a medical screening, are given a mask, offered a vaccination and quarantined. Inmates get temperature checks everyday and jail staff are required to wear masks while in the facility. All staff is offered vaccinations on-site and touch points throughout the jail are getting cleaned and disinfected several times a day. Any inmate exhibiting signs or symptoms are housed in a quarantined medical cell and monitored by medical staff.
“Our medical staff encourages all inmates and staff to get vaccinated,” said Silveira.
Changes outside of the jail include increased cleaning and disinfecting in the patrol office and community corrections (parole and probation). Additionally, deputies have been asked to reduce the time they spent in the office and to handle calls by phone whenever possible and appropriate. There are digital thermometers at every entrance and hand sanitizers throughout the building.
The lobby is open to the public but all public fingerprinting has been cancelled. All non-essential in-person trainings and meetings have been postponed.
The sheriff’s office has been trying to catch up on the issuing of new and transfer Concealed Handgun Licenses (CHL), but the surge has forced them to stop at this time, because they require fingerprinting in the jail. CHL renewals do not require fingerprinting and are being handled by appointment only.
“These changes are temporary and intended to protect our staff, the public and our facility. We will reassess the situation in a few weeks,” said Brown. “I want everyone to be as safe and healthy as possible. We will make it through this, I have no doubt of that.”