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.
Sometime before December, the 44 sworn officers under the Monroe County sheriff will start taking monthly training on policies they’re supposed to follow.
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 #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.
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.
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.
Screen grab of the Monroe County council’s Zoom meeting on June 4, 2020
Jada Bee delivering public commentary at the June 4, 2020 meeting of the Monroe County council.
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.
IJTF members (from left) Cathi Crabtree, Shruti Rana, Christie Popp, and Jane Grant, deliver public commentary at the Feb. 11, 2020 meeting of Monroe County’s council.
IJTF member Cathi Crabtree.
County councilor Trent Deckard.
Shruti Rana, IJTF member and professor at Indiana University’s Hamilton Lugar School of Global and International Studies, delivers public commentary to Monroe County’s council.
County councilor, Kate Wiltz.
County councilor Eric Spoonmore.
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.