In an internal email to Sheriff's Office employees, Sheriff Smith outlined what the public can expect from the Utah County Sheriff's Office during the COVID-19 pandemic and what he expects of employees.
*** PRESS RELEASE April 29, 2020 ***
Sheriff Mike Smith sent the following email to all Sheriff's Office employees on April 14, 2020:
As we move forward with no certain end in sight to the COVID-19 pandemic, I have been asked numerous times what type of response can be expected from the Utah County Sheriff's Office if mandatory isolation and quarantines as well as other more restrictive orders are put in place.These inquiries have come from citizens,employees, and upper level state officials.
I want each of you to know I take this situation seriously and feel we each need to do our part to be safe, smart, and stay healthy. With that said, there is so much competing information on both sides of this issue that most of us are left wondering where the truth really lies.The reality is the only thing any of us can really control in this situation is our own actions and how we each deal with the situation.
Too many times the problems facing a community are dumped upon the backs of law enforcement to do the dirty work. We are not given the proper training, resources, or even information to be successful. Then,when all is said and done, law enforcement is thrown under the bus by politicians and media as a scapegoat. There are already stories in the Nation of law enforcement officers arresting citizens for not complying with Health Orders. These accounts are not casting our profession in a positive light.
Even worse than this, if law enforcement is used in a manner that threatens our Constitutional Rights, I am afraid we will do irreparable damage to our profession. More than ever, we must be community policing oriented and think outside the box to our approach to this crisis. Law enforcement should not be used as the hammer in this situation. If we allow this, I am afraid we will turn social distancing into social rebellion. We will not be considered jailers to our community at large.
As a Sheriff's Office I am asking each of you to remember your oath to serve our community. We will continue to be there for our citizens. We will work with our citizens through community policing strategies that encourage people to follow best practice recommendations. If we encounter situations that threaten the health and safety of our community, we will handle them with extreme consideration and care as to not tread upon Constitutional Rights. As has been stated by President Trump, "The cure cannot be worse than the problem."
This is a health department issue. This is a community issue. We cannot allow this to be an excuse to tread on the Constitution and promote a police state. I am asking each of you, as you approach your calls for service as they relate to this pandemic,to remember we are here to serve. We are here to be a strength in the community and work as a team to educate and encourage practices that promote health and safety for all. If we fail to do this and violate our communities trust and Constitutional Rights, we may not ever get it back. I am asking you to have more patience with our citizens and remember they are dealing with the stress of this pandemic and not all people handle stress the same.
If you have questions on any call for service, please run it up the chain to a supervisor.If you need any PPE or other equipment, please get with your supervisor. If you think you may have come into contact with someone who is sick with COVID-19,get with your supervisor. IHC has suspended deductibles for emergency responders who may be exposed during on duty service. Also, we have secured hotel housing for employees who have had an exposure and do not want to take a chance on taking anything home to their family.
I thank each of you for your dedication and service. If our community needs our help, we will be there. If there is anything the Sheriff's Administration can do to help you,please let us know. We will be there. I will be there.
Stay Safe and Healthy,
Sheriff Mike Smith
For questions contact Sergeant Spencer Cannon, Public Information Officer, Utah County Sheriff's Office
(801)404-1912 - Cell
(801)851-4333 - Office
Twitter: @SGTCannonPIO or @UCSO