First responder agencies across the county are adapting policies to combat the public health risk of the COVID-19 pandemic, including the Williamson County Sheriff's Office, which will now attempt to take some police reports by phone call.
The announcement was made on the WCSO Facebook page on Friday. WCSO will ask callers to its dispatch center if they can be called back by a deputy who will take the police report over the phone.
WCSO Public Information Officer Sharon Puckett said in a phone call that the sheriff's office will continue to respond to emergencies in person as well continuing routine patrols, but using this option as a precaution when appropriate.
The non-emergency number for WCSO dispatch is (615)790-5550, and Puckett said that anyone with an emergency should still call 911.
"It's just a safety precaution for the deputies and for the public," Puckett said. "It's not going to effect how soon respond to a call or answer a call. We will be on the way if it's an emergency or they want a deputy."
Nolensville Police Department
The Nolensville Police Department is also taking similar steps to reduce the chance of transmission of the virus that has disrupted services across the county and the nation, causing Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee to declare a state of emergency on Thursday and President Donald Trump to declare a national state of emergency on Friday.
"We have a small staff," reads a post on NPD's Facebook page. "We cannot afford to get someone sick and it spread through our crew. If you want someone to respond, we will.
If it is a more serious situation, certainly we will. This new process will be continually evaluated to make sure our level of service is not compromised.
We do not necessarily buy into the media hype but we should take precautions just the same."
The Nolensville Volunteer Fire Department will not allow any visitors to the fire hall until further notice to ensure that they can continue to operate, adding that citizens who need a burn permit can call (615) 776-5050 to obtain one over the phone.
"We love having visitors and we regret having to take this precaution. However, as a 100% volunteer department, we need to do everything possible to remain ready to serve the community," a NVFD Facebook post reads.
Williamson County Jail
On Thursday the Williamson County Jail, which is operated by WCSO, suspended all visitors to the jail indefinitely as a precaution, saying in a media release that as of Thursday there were no positive cases of COVID-19 in the jail.
Puckett said in an email that the county does have the resources to ensure public health of both inmates and employees of the jail system, and although it's not clear if the jail plans to test for the virus, Puckett said that they "will continue to follow CDC guidelines."
Brentwood Police Department
Other first responder agencies, such as the Brentwood Police Department, are continuing to operate under normal policies while following CDC health guidelines.
"We understand that service sometimes requires in-person contact, but that’s an issue we deal with everyday and we do our best on a daily basis to take as many precautions as we can," BPD Cpt. Richard Hickey said in an email.
The Brentwood Fire and Rescue Department has indefinitely suspended all non-essential public contact activities including station tours, block and birthday parties, school and daycare visits in order to reduce the risk of exposure to first responders, equipment and vehicles.
"Rest assured that BFR remains on the cutting edge of this situation, and that your advanced life support crews are poised and ready to provide the highest level of pre-hospital care possible when called upon," BFR wrote in a Facebook post.
Within the CDC's guidelines are recommendations specifically aimed at first responders, which can be found here.