Sheriff: First 4 COVID-19 cases reported at Monroe County jail

 

In a press release issued Tuesday afternoon, Monroe County’s sheriff, Brad Swain, reported the first four confirmed COVID-19 cases among the county jail’s population.

According to the news release, the first two cases were identified last week, when two cellmates in a medium security cell block reported symptoms to medical staff. Both inmates were transferred to medical cells for observation, and tested positive.

A few days after that, according to the news release, two inmates from a different cell block had symptoms that led them to be tested, and those tests were both positive.

According to the news release, the inmates who tested positive have either mild or no symptoms, and “there is little present concern about their health being in danger.” Continue reading “Sheriff: First 4 COVID-19 cases reported at Monroe County jail”

Monroe County sheriff’s deputies to get regular training updates with Lexipol policy management program

Sometime before December, the 44 sworn officers under the Monroe County sheriff will start taking monthly training on policies they’re supposed to follow.

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Monroe County Sheriff’s Office on 7th Street, looking north. Image links to Google Street View from which it is taken.

They’ll also get regular testing on the policies, according to Monroe County sheriff Brad Swain.

On Wednesday morning, county sheriff Brad Swain described the training and policy management program to county commissioners this way: “It will be as much a part of their work week as making sure their car is safe and all their equipment is good.”

The range of policies to be reviewed on a routine basis include those from 21st Century Policing  and #8CANTWAIT, Swain told commissioners.

The #8CANTWAIT policies require that law enforcement agencies: ban chokeholds; require de-escalation; require warning before shooting; require exhaustion of all alternatives before shooting; impose a duty to intervene; ban shooting at moving vehicles; require use of force continuum; require comprehensive reporting.

At their regular Wednesday meeting, the three county commissioners gave their unanimous support for the one-time “implementation fee” of $9,425 for the Lexipol system, that will, according to Swain, put the policies “all at their fingertips, their phone apps, as well as their within their car.” Continue reading “Monroe County sheriff’s deputies to get regular training updates with Lexipol policy management program”

2 deputy sheriff vacancies to be filled; 3-hour public forum on law enforcement funding gets mixed reviews

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On Tuesday evening, the seven-member Monroe County council, which is the elected fiscal body of county government, held a video-conferenced public forum on the future of law enforcement funding.

Described on the agenda as a “community concerns and law enforcement resourcing meeting” the three-hour event was led by Latosha Williams from the Community Justice and Mediation Center. Attendance by the public reportedly peaked around 150 people.

Tuesday’s town hall was scheduled after a June 4 video-conferenced special meeting of the county council was attended by around 250 people who objected to Monroe County sheriff Brad Swain’s request for an exception to the council’s hiring freeze.  The council imposed the freeze in late April.

Councilors imposed the hiring freeze because they had concerns about the clarity of the county’s financial picture, given the unknown revenue impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The objections to Swain’s proposed filling of two vacant deputy positions came in the context of nationwide and local demonstrations over the May 25 killing by Minneapolis police of George Floyd, a 46-year-old Black man, along with other recent police killings of Black men and women.

At the June 4 meeting, Swain withdrew his request to fill the two vacancies. But the hiring freeze expires on July 1, which means that Swain can now fill the two vacant positions, without asking the county council for approval. Continue reading “2 deputy sheriff vacancies to be filled; 3-hour public forum on law enforcement funding gets mixed reviews”

Request withdrawn at crowded Zoom meeting: Hiring freeze meant filling vacant sheriff’s deputy jobs needed county council OK

A request from Monroe County’s sheriff, Brad Swain, to fill two vacant deputy positions was not heard as scheduled at the county council’s special meeting convened on Thursday at 1 p.m.

Swain withdrew the request at the start of the meeting.

The only vote taken by county councilors was on a motion made by councilor Cheryl Munson—to use their upcoming Tuesday, June 9, regular meeting as a chance to set the time and place for a separate town hall event. It passed unanimously.

The topic of the town hall, council president Eric Spoonmore told The Square Beacon Thursday evening, would be a discussion of the factors that need to be weighed, for a major structural change, as the council considers “how to resource law enforcement.”

It’s not meant to be a one-off meeting, Spoonmore said, and wants it to be guided by a criminal justice reform study the county has had in the works for more than a year.

Some activists have called for defunding law enforcement. Spoonmore told The Square Beacon that it’s important to understand what the implications would be of not filling the vacant deputy positions. Continue reading “Request withdrawn at crowded Zoom meeting: Hiring freeze meant filling vacant sheriff’s deputy jobs needed county council OK”

County council forwards request for information on local ICE policies to Monroe County’s sheriff

The Immigration Justice Task Force (IJTF), a self-organized group that counts members from area religious and non-profit organizations, addressed the Monroe County council at its regular monthly meeting on Tuesday.

Those who took the public podium on Tuesday called on the county council to help support their requests for information from Monroe County’s sheriff, Brad Swain, about specific connections between the sheriff’s office and the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

That’s something the councilors agreed to do, telling their attorney, Margie Rice, they wanted the information requests forwarded from them to the sheriff.

There’s also a chance that some kind of resolution or proclamation could be developed to express the county council’s view, even if it’s not binding on the sheriff. Continue reading “County council forwards request for information on local ICE policies to Monroe County’s sheriff”