They include changes in the way deputies interact with the public.
Frederick, Md (KM) We’ve all had to make adjustments during the COVID-19 pandemic to avoid spreading the virus, and that includes law enforcement agencies. Frederick County Sheriff Chuck Jenkins says deputies have had to follow new procedures when it comes to traffic stops, calls for service and other ways they interact with the public. But Jenkins says the men and women of the Sheriff’s Office have not complained.
“Policing in this COVID environment, in this COVID time, has been challenging,” he says. “I think my men and women have done a great job in dealing with it, keeping themselves safe, keeping the public safe.”
There is one upside to this pandemic. “A lot of the calls for services kinda went away. We weren’t seeing a lot of activity,” Jenkins says. “Now, I think we’re going to find when we see our end-of-year stats that crime is down. But what we have seen an increase in is domestics.”
The Sheriff says that due to people being told to stay at home for long periods of time. “People have become tired of one another in the same house. A lot of the domestics as a result of that. We’ve seen a lot of suicides,”: says Jenkins.
But the one problem that didn’t go away with the pandemic is drug overdoses. “Everybody’s this past year, they’ve forgotten about the heroin-opioid crisis. That still exists. We’re still responding to overdoses. We’re administering NARCAN. We find fatal overdoses we’re dealing with all the time,” he says.
But the biggest challenge, according to Jenkins, from 2020 was not the pandemic. “During this year, the worst part for my men and women were the protests, the Black Live Matters protests here in Frederick, and across the country,” he says. “Here in Frederick, they were peaceful. They were fine. There were no real problems.”
The protests followed the death of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer which was captured on video and went viral on social media, leading to a backlash against law enforcement. . The Sheriff says that and the protests have had an impact on his deputies. “What my men and women see that’s being thrown at law enforcement across this county everyday hurts. It makes them wonder ‘why am I doing this,'” he says.
By Kevin McManus