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Teens offer thanks to first responders
sign virus

Lathrop Police Chief Ryan Biedermann has been working long hours ever since the sheriff’s office overhauled its schedule to allow for half of the sworn officers in the agency to quarantine in place for two weeks out of an abundance of caution.

When he arrived back at the sheriff’s office complex in French Camp earlier this week – the temporary home of Lathrop Police Services while a new state-of-the-art facility is constructed in River Islands – he was surprised to see that somebody had staked in signs thanking law enforcement for keeping the public safe during these uncertain times.

After a number of 12-hour days, Biedermann said it was a morale boost not just for him but for all of the guys currently working patrol and doing everything they can to keep themselves and the public safe.

“It’s always nice to know that people appreciate what you’re doing – a lot of times the little things that we do get overshadowed,” Biedermann said. “We don’t get a choice on where we’re sent – it’s our job to help people and protect people and sometimes we have to go at a moment’s notice and there’s a risk right now for law enforcement, fire, EMS, the nurses at the hospital.

“You never know what you’re going to encounter when you respond to a call and that causes some stress – so it’s nice that people appreciate the work that we put into this because we aren’t always appreciated for what we do.”

In order to tackle the unique challenges that COVID-19 is presenting to first responders, the San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Office has restructured its operations to put as many officers on the street as possible – meaning that special teams have been temporarily reassigned.

The purpose, Biedermann said, is to allow for as many officers as possible – roughly half of the sworn personnel – to quarantine themselves to prevent any spread of the virus. So far, none of those who are sheltering at home have tested positive.

After a two-week period, Biedermann said, the patrol personnel will switch and give those who have been working the 12.5-hour shifts time to recuperate and stay at home with their families.

“The Sheriff has been progressive – thinking outside of the box on how to approach this situation,” Biedermann said. “We haven’t had any exposures or positive tests for deputies yet, but he’s thinking ahead – we’re running this emergency schedule where essentially for a two-week period half of the deputies work while the rest stay home.

“Because of the way it’s scheduled, we actual have an increase on manpower on the street and all of those other deputies are ready to respond at a moment’s notice. It’s a well thought out plan that has the blessing of the Board of Supervisors and that in and of itself boosted morale – it shows how far this administration is willing to go to protect its first responders.”

To contact reporter Jason Campbell email or call 209.249.3544.