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Sheriff's office shutting down public access and making other arrangements to limit COVID-19 spread

PMG FILE PHOTO - Multnomah County Sheriff Mike Reese is overseeing changes in how his agency operates. Deputies can issue citatons and court dates instead of arresting people for non-violent offenses, among other thingsThe Multnomah County Sheriff's Office has announced changes to address the threat of coronavirus and limit its spread.

The changes announced Wednesday include the following:

  • Opening up a previously vacant jail dorm to accommodate social distancing measures.
  • Screening new inmates for coronavirus symptoms
  • Giving deputies more latitude to issue citations and court dates instead of arrests for non-violent offenses.
  • Closing public reception areas, requiring the public to call by phone for non-emergency business, at (503) 988-0517.
  • Consideration of early releases from jail
  • What follows are details from the sheriff's press release:

    Law Enforcement

    Law enforcement deputies have been given additional discretion to reduce the strain on the criminal justice system. When appropriate, deputies can elect to issue a citation requiring a person to appear in court at a later date. This does not apply to those arrested on more serious charges, such as domestic violence, sex crimes, and violent person crimes.

    Phone reporting is encouraged. When possible and appropriate, deputies may handle report taking with community members by phone.

    The Troutdale Sheriff's Operations Center (234 SW Kendall Ct.) remains open.

    MCSO's processing of civil matters continues with the exception of evictions. All protective orders are being served.

    Corrections

    MCSO opened an additional dorm at Multnomah County Inverness Jail Friday, March 13, to allow for better implementation of social distancing guidelines.

    With input from Dr. Michael Seale of Multnomah County Corrections Health and former Tri-County Health Officer Dr. Paul Lewis, enhanced screening measures have been enacted when individuals arrive at the jail. This process includes screening for specific symptoms related to COVID-19, travel history and contact history, as well as testing per Oregon Health Authority guidelines and enforcing social distancing.

    All inmate programs have temporarily been canceled.

    Sheriff's Office staff is conducting enhanced facility cleaning, standard practice during cold and flu season.

    Additional measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in jails may be needed, such as reducing the jail population through early release or release to pretrial supervision.

    Jail Visitation

    Jail lobby access has been limited at both facilities as prevention efforts continue to be implemented to mitigate risk to jail populations. Social visitation has been suspended until further notice at the facility and through the lobby kiosks. Professional and legal access will continue at this time.

    Single transactions related to adults in custody services will still be available through the lobby. This includes the use of the Touchpay kiosk for commissary and telephone account deposits.

    Remote video visitation options and phone services remain available. MCSO is working with our communications provider to provide additional access for all of our adults in custody to communicate with family and friends. These are expected to be in place beginning Monday, March 23, 2020. Further details will be released once confirmed by the provider.

    Court dates for individuals who have been sentenced to Turn Self In (TSI) have been postponed, and report dates are being rescheduled.

    Business Services

    Multnomah Building Sheriff's Administrative Office (501 SE Hawthorne Blvd, Suite 350) reception is closed. The public is encouraged to call the general business line, (503) 988-4300.

    Penumbra Kelly Building (4735 E Burnside St.) is closed to the public. All business must be handled by phone, (503) 988-0517. Business related to Concealed Handgun Licenses is postponed until further notice.

    We are committed to serving our entire county and will continue to work with our law enforcement and criminal justice partners to reduce the spread of COVID-19 while protecting the health and safety of our community and meeting the needs of our criminal justice system. Each unit at MCSO is working, and we are responding to all calls for service. All investigations are continuing.


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