MAYVILLE – Numerous readers have recently expressed concern about the release of inmates from the Chautauqua County Jail due to the global COVID-19 pandemic.
WNYNewsNow reached out to Chautauqua County Sheriff Jim Quattrone Thursday morning to ask him about the situation. Quattrone confirmed that the court system released inmates as a precaution, but dispelled any concerns that the virus may have been brought into or out of the jail.
“The courts have released people from the jail after a careful consideration of their records or charges,” Quattrone said. “By doing that, we are able to be better with having social distancing among the inmates.”
The county’s top law enforcement officer says that his department has taken several precautions with the staff and inmates in the jail. Inmates are not allowed visitors at this time, and any vendor or inmate that is brought into the jail will be screened before they’re aloud in. Quattrone adds that there is one single point of entry for staff.
Quattrone says that all county employees who remain working are required to self-screen every 12 hours before going to work, adding that his staff is doing additional screening when they arrive on campus.
Stores nationwide are experiencing a high demand for toilet paper, as well as various food products. Quattrone said, other than a brief “scare” on toilet paper due to a back order, his staff hasn’t experienced a supply shortage.
Quattrone says that he’s worked with various county entities to ensure that, should the jail see a shortage of toilet paper, his staff could receive a supply.
WNYNewsNow also asked Quattrone what precautions have been taken for his road deputies as they respond to reported crimes and other emergencies. He says that “somewhat, business has been usual.”
“Many of the things that we are stressing, such as social distancing, those are things we’ve stressed throughout their basic training, as far as having distance between us and individuals,” Quattrone said. “We are, as a result of the COVID-19 (pandemic), our dispatchers are asking specific questions when calls come in to do somewhat of a screen. But we’re having our officers just assume that those people could have the virus.”
Quattrone says his officers have masks, goggles and gloves that they can put on themselves should they run into anyone who exhibit visible symptoms of the COVID-19 virus.
Quattrone also says that the crisis is “not a time to be fearful. It’s a time to be respectful.”
“When I say respectful, respectful of each other, but also respectful of the virus,” Quattrone said. “It’s not something to be feared, but it’s something to be respected….It’s a time to socialize, but do it at a safe distance.”