The Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Office responded to COVID-19 developments in the area, with a statement on March 13 about preparations being taken to safeguard staff, persons in custody, and its facilities.
The department said it has been closely monitoring the spread of COVID-19 and developing contingency plans with public health partners, including the private healthcare provider for the Milwaukee County Jail, to ensure that its protocols conform to national, state, and local best practices for infectious disease control.
“The COVID-19 virus is one of the most pressing and urgent challenges the Sheriff’s Office and our community face. Our response to it is dependent on all our medical, public safety and governmental officials and the community partnering to stem the spread of the virus,” said Milwaukee County Sheriff Earnell Lucas. “During this time, we ask everyone to follow current best practices pertaining to social distancing and personal hygiene to help keep our community safe.”
The Sheriff’s Office noted that it has vigorously enforced internal social distancing measures, including suspending face-to-face meetings and large gatherings, and restricted all non-essential access to the Milwaukee County Jail.
The restrictions include the temporary suspension of professional in-person contact visits within the jail facility. Attorneys who need to communicate directly their clients can continue to do so using booths equipped for non-contact visits. Public visitation has been conducted through a video visitation system, so families with loved ones in the jail would not need to change their visiting practices.
In addition, the Sheriff’s Office and the jail healthcare provider have implemented a detailed three-phase strategy for infectious disease prevention, containment, and mitigation.
The Patrol Services Bureau, which provides primary police services to Milwaukee Mitchell International Airport, the Milwaukee County Circuit Court, the Milwaukee County Parks, the Milwaukee Regional Medical Center, and all interstates in Milwaukee County, has adopted intensive contingency plans for safeguarding our staff and members of the public. The department has also implemented agency-wide protocols requiring the frequent and thorough disinfection of all surfaces, vehicles, and equipment.