LOS ANGELES – Some Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies will be re-deployed away from courthouses due to the coronavirus pandemic that has led to a dramatic scaling back of court operations, officials announced Monday.
“Court security is among our chief public safety responsibilities for Los Angeles County,” Sheriff Alex Villanueva said in a statement. “… We will continue to ensure public safety in our courthouses — and that includes helping to enforce social distancing of six feet between people in hallways, entry points and lobbies.”
The county’s presiding judge, Kevin C. Brazile, expressed gratitude for sheriff’s deputies expanding their public safety duties in the county’s courthouses to enforce the need for social distancing.
For security reasons, no details were released about how many deputies will be redeployed.
Last week, California Chief Justice Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye suspended all jury trials in California’s superior courts for 60 days and allowed courts to immediately adopt new rules to address the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
On the same day, Brazile signed an order restricting access to all Los Angeles County courthouses to judges, commissioners, court staff and authorized people until further notice, while also mandating social distancing of at least six feet.
Claiming unsafe conditions related to the spread of the coronavirus, unions representing Los Angeles County public defenders, district attorneys and city attorneys called last week for the immediate closure of the Los Angeles Superior Courts.