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BCSO limiting deputy contact with public in efforts to stall coronavirus spread

Non-emergency calls for service will be handled over the phone, officials said.

SAN ANTONIO — Joining various other city and state entities in efforts to mitigate the spread of the novel coronavirus, the Bexar County Sheriff's Office on Friday announced a temporary change in procedure when it comes to responding to calls and assisting the public for the short-term future. 

Effective immediately, BCSO officials say deputy contact with county residents will be limited to situations of "immediate" necessity. Instead of entering residents or businesses, deputies will be working to conduct "as much business as possible outside" in the open, in accordance with recommendations from health officials that the public practice social distancing. 

Additionally, non-emergency calls will be handled by BCSO over the phone while the agency will dispatch deputies only in emergency situations. 

Medical personnel will also screen newly-arrested individuals before they are taken to jail. Anyone showing flu-like symptoms will be housed separate from other inmates until medically cleared. Officials added they will work to minimize arrests by "filing non-violent offenses at large."

Meanwhile, in additional efforts to reduce close-quarters mingling at county facilities, BCSO will be coordinating with courts to make as much use of GPS technology for sentenced prisoners. 

It's unclear how long the procedural changes will last, but BCSO says they are temporary. 

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