Saturday, September 24
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New Suffolk County Jail Work Group to Focus on Pandemic Safety Protocols

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Earlier this month, Suffolk County Sheriff Errol D. Toulon, Jr., in conjunction with members of the Nassau County Sheriff’s Department and the Westchester County Department of Correction, formed the COVID 19 Regional Jail Working Group in order to share ideas and best practices in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Leading the effort are Sheriff Toulon, Nassau County Sheriff James Dzurenda, Westchester County Department of Correction Commissioner Joseph K. Spano, and Westchester County Department of Correction First Deputy Commissioner Louis A. Molina.

The first teleconference meeting was held on April 15th, where the group discussed staffing issues, inmate and staff health and safety protocols, visitation, and continuation of inmate support services. Over the next few weeks, the members intend to discuss protocols to safely guide the reintroduction of civilian staff, visitors, and programming as New York slowly begins to reopen in the weeks and months ahead.

Sheriff Toulon hopes the coordination and information-sharing will lead to a safe transition that protects staff and the inmate population from any potential resurgence of COVID 19 or any other highly infectious disease in the future. He said, “We will be discussing and sharing information, analytics and best practices, and how we can safely reintegrate outside correctional rehabilitation services and visitors back into everyday functions.”

Sheriff Dzurenda stated, “Learning and listening to how other agencies are handling the State of Emergency to ensure we are doing everything possible to protect the staff, the community, and the public, is priceless, especially when you are working together with the best agencies in the State.”

“During this crisis it is vital that we share with each other our best practices to prevent, detect and respond to the COVID-19 virus,” said Commissioner Spano. “This regional working group allows us to collaborate at a high level that enhances the safety and security of staff and residents.”

“We have a duty of care to our staff and the people placed in our custody; we can only successfully combat this virus through a regional approach. The working group represents over a hundred years of collective public safety experience and leveraging our shared knowledge will significantly mitigate this pandemic.” – First Deputy Commissioner Molina.


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