Police continue to respond to calls, make traffic stops
Sheriff's office instituting team shifts to reduce cross-contamination
MECOSTA, OSCEOLA COUNTIES — While residents continue to follow Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's extended "Stay home, stay safe" executive order, local law enforcement are trying to limit exposure while keeping the public safe.
Mecosta County Sheriff Todd Purcell said the sheriff's office has instituted 12-hour team shifts, so the same deputies are always working together in an effort to prevent cross-contamination between people.
Along with limiting contact between officers, Purcell said they are trying to reduce the amount of contact deputies have with the public in an effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
"We are attempting to take as many calls as possible over the phone," he said.
However, Purcell said deputies still are working hard to serve the community and keep the public safe.
He added while some police agencies across the state have said they may not be making as many traffic stops to reduce contact with others, deputies in Mecosta County are still making all stops as necessary.
"The traffic flow has dropped significantly, but we are still making stops," he said.
In Osceola County, Sheriff Ed Williams said officers also are working in team shifts.
"It minimizes their contact and exposure," he said.
Williams said due to the number of deputies on staff, if half were to become sick at one time it could be detrimental to their ability to respond to emergencies.
"It could be catastrophic to our ability to function," he said. " ... We need to continue to be a 24-hour police agency for this county."
The lobbies for both the Mecosta and Osceola counties sheriff's offices also remain open to the public, although Purcell and Williams said it is in a limited capacity.
"The sheriff's office could be a shelter for someone in need," Williams said. "I'd hate for someone to arrive here and have the door locked."