OKLAHOMA CITY – Working with different stakeholder groups, law enforcement associations, the corrections system and other state agencies, Gov. Kevin Stitt and Attorney General Mike Hunter today released what they deem as best practices for statewide law enforcement officials to follow to limit their exposure to COVID-19.
The document addresses what the group considers the four main areas of transmission management, and provides guidelines on how to best prevent exposure during an arrest, the transfer of inmates, management of current jail and prison populations and staff screening.
“These guidelines are intended to better protect the courageous men and women in law enforcement from contracting and spreading COVID-19,” said Gov. Stitt. “We encourage them to follow these guidelines, as well as all other precautions, to protect themselves and those around them. My thanks goes to those who collaborated on these guidelines, including Secretary of Public Safety Chip Keating.”
The group acknowledges that while these are considered to be best practices, it should not be construed as advocating for the release of dangerous criminals from jail. Decisions regarding the release of any inmate should be made by a local judge, in consultation with the district attorney and defense counsel, weighing any constitutional restraints versus public safety.
“In addition to facing life and death situations every time our statewide law enforcement officials go to work, they are now facing an invisible enemy in the Coronavirus,” Attorney General Hunter said. “As state officials, we must do everything in our power to ensure they are protected. We believe these guidelines, in conjunction with measures already being implemented around the state, will serve as another safeguard to stop its spread to others. I appreciate all of the individuals and agencies who assembled quickly and worked together in the best interest of protecting the public and our brave law enforcement officials across the state.”
In addition to the Governor’s Office, the Attorney General’s Office and Secretary of Public Safety Chip Keating, collaborating on the project were representatives with the District Attorneys Council, Oklahoma Sheriff’s Association, the Oklahoma Association of Chiefs of Police, Health Department, the Department of Corrections, Administrative Office of the Courts and Administrative Director Jari Askins, Oklahoma Indigent Defense System and the Oklahoma Municipal League.
To read the guidelines, click here.