Letter to the Editor: Sheriff’s message on COVID-19 concerns

It’s an honor to serve you and your families as your sheriff. It’s important for you to know that the Burke County Sheriff’s Office and all of Burke County’s first responders, police, fire, and medical naturally come together with a common goal to serve you whenever we face a challenge. Burke County Emergency Management met (Tuesday) to initiate our incident command team as we have for other incidents in the past. This situation is unique, but you can be assured we will find a path to a successful conclusion.

Regarding the Sheriff’s Office (SO), we are asking you for your patience, understanding, and assistance. We’re advising our staff to follow the health care professionals’ advice to prevent contracting and spreading the virus enabling us to remain healthy to serve you. We ask you to join us in these actions including complying with the prohibition of mass gatherings, social distancing, and other requests. The SO is committed to responding to calls as quickly as possible, but if our physical presence is not needed, we can take reports by telephone. When we do respond on a scene, we’ve probably already been in multiple situations and have interacted with many other people. Therefore, you are free to meet us outside your home reducing the chance of any negative transfers.

On a personal note, as a person of faith, being unable to physically attend our places of worship Sunday to share in the smiles, handshakes, hugs, and enjoy the many other benefits of worship was different. However, the numerous online services afforded me the opportunity to join two other services in addition to our own without “cheating on my pastor” (smile).

During this Coronavirus incident, I encourage each of us to seek some unique opportunities to enhance the well-being of ourselves, our families, and especially the lives of others. If we start with the end in mind, we will be able to look back in the future with the peace and satisfaction of knowing we came together and overcame a difficult event.

Thank you,

Steve E. Whisenant

Burke County Sheriff

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