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Collier County deputies adapt to changes on the job during pandemic

Reporter: Rich Kolko Writer: Jack Lowenstein
Published: Updated:

Law enforcement officers on patrol work independently on the road. And the information they receive before they hit the streets is critical. But, in a time of pandemic, that information is getting delivered a little differently.

We received an exclusive look at how Collier County Sheriff’s Office is adapting during the effort to help stop the spread of the coronavirus.

Usually the shift starts with a cup of coffee. Now, it starts with a temperature check.

“The shift briefing is a time-honored tradition in law enforcement,” CCSO Lt. Rich Hampton told WINK News. “It’s where that sergeant, that supervisor can look at his troops and make sure they’re ready to perform the duties of a deputy sheriff.”

Being ready while COVID-19 is spreading means making the effort to stay healthy, and that means practicing social distancing and no more meetings at the beginning of a shift in a squad room.

“The easiest way to do that is out in the open air, in the parking lot,” Hampton said.

Hampton said when the worst of COVID-19 is over, they’ll probably go back to roll call inside. He also expects law enforcement will be much quicker to use their personal protective equipment and says social distancing will be more common.

Outside, the deputies are still getting critical information they need to do their jobs.

“Any time you go through a crisis, you have a contingency,” Hampton said “That always brings the team a little bit closer.”

It helps during a time of separation and keeping deputies focused on what really matters.

“The most important part of the day is deputies going home at the end of the shift,” Hampton said.