Metro area county jails pool resources for emergency help during COVID-19 pandemic

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Dakota, Washington, Scott and Carver Counties are all working together on an emergency plan if inmates or corrections officers suffer an outbreak of COVID-19 inside one of the jails.

Dakota County Sheriff, Tim Leslie, is spearheading the consolidation efforts because the four counties all have similar jail capacities and staffing levels.

"If an outbreak happens in one of the jails, we'll be ready to consolidate some of our populations," said Leslie. "You know, get the healthy ones out, quarantine the ones that are ill and make sure they get the nursing care that they would need."

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Leslie said, if the outbreak primarily affected the corrections officers and staff, the counties are now training personnel from each jail to learn how each system works so they could slide in and help cover shifts.

"If you normally have a staff of 13 corrections officers and one day you are down to three, you need a plan," said Leslie. "By training with each other now on each other's protocols, we can be ready to share staff with each other to cover any shortages."