SHALIMAR, Fla., March 18, 2020—The Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office announced changes to daily business in an attempt to limit potential public and staff exposure to COVID-19.
These measures will remain in effect until further notice.
- Beginning Thursday morning, deputies will begin call-in crime reporting for most low-priority, non-violent/and or misdemeanor crimes that have already occurred rather than in-person responses. Normal dispatch lines will be used. Calls in this category will be forwarded to deputies—or calls will be returned by deputies—as soon as possible.
- Access to headquarters and substation lobbies will be limited. The public is asked to do business by phone or email whenever possible. Most buildings have an outdoor phone that can be used for routine business as needed.
- All elective fingerprinting will be suspended with the exception of statutorily mandated fingerprinting such as arrestees and sexual offender registrations.
- Deputies are patrolling Okaloosa beaches to remind residents and tourists to stick to the governor’s emergency order on social distancing to avoid more than 10 people in a group. The OCSO is seeking voluntary compliance; however, Sheriff Larry Ashley said if voluntary compliance is not obtained, beaches will be closed.
Sheriff’s deputies have implemented multiple precautionary practices in interacting with the public, ranging from social distancing to wearing masks and gloves to limit exposure, according to Ashley.
Any new updates or developments will be posted via social media platforms.
Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office news release