Law enforcement adjusts to changes

Monday, March 23, 2020

Shelbyville Deputy Chief Brian Crews and Sheriff Austin Swing say their departments have seen no increase in domestic violence as many people work from home or are laid off during the coronavirus scare.

But Crews said he expects an increase as people remain largely confined to their homes over the next few days.

Swing said he has asked his deputies, Shelbyville police and the Tennessee Highway Patrol to cite and release suspects if possible, especially in misdemeanor cases, to reduce the number of people coming into Bedford County Jail. Crews said police are complying when possible.

“We’re issuing more cite-and-releases for non-violent offenses so they can book in later,” Crews said. “We are arresting those who commit felony offenses.”

Officers with both departments and Tennessee Highway Patrol officers are on the streets as usual answering emergency calls — with directives to use hand sanitizer and stay 6 feet away from others when possible — but city callers with non-emergency needs are asked to call the dispatch center at 931-684-5811 and an officer will take a report by phone.

Those needing copies of a police report can call the department business office at 931-684-9948 or email Fines may be paid online at or by phone at 877-618-7898.

The Bedford County Sheriff’s Office number is 931-684-3232.

Swing said deputies assigned to the temporarily-closed court system have been reassigned to other duties.

Jail operations

Face-to-face visits and video visits in the front lobby have been temporarily discontinued at Bedford County Jail, but there’s a silver lining for inmates.

Each inmate is being given two free 30-minute online video visits each week by the jail’s Internet service provider, Swing said.

In other temporary measures at the jail:

•Work crews have been temporarily discontinued.

•Deliveries are being dropped off in the jail’s sally port area; inmates in bring them inside.

•Visits from Sunday School classes and GED instructors have temporarily been discontinued.

•Limited pickups of local suspects charged with misdemeanors by other departments. Those charged with felons will be brought to the jail as usual.

•The intake area is being cleaned every 30 minutes and the pods housing inmates once each hour.

•Inmates serving 48-hour weekend sentences are being kept in a separate area of the jail.

•All new inmates are questioned thoroughly by Southern Health, which serves the jail, and initially kept in a separate area.