Listen: Sheriff On PPE For His Deputies & Plans To Reduce Bonds For Inmates

Palm Beach County Sheriff Ric Bradshaw says a 38-year old deputy who died from the coronavirus battled a serious heart condition.

"It's sad. He was a good man. (He) worked hard and he was well respected by his peers."

He says social distancing guidelines are keeping the agency from having any type of service for Sergeant Jose Diaz Ayala.

The sheriff isn't sure whether Ayala contracted the virus on the job.

"We were led to believe at the beginning that he had traveled to Puerto Rico. We're trying to definitely verify that."

Either way, Bradshaw isn't taking any chances...he's making sure his deputies are protected from COVID-19.

"We, early on when I saw this thing coming, made sure that every deputy had the full personal protective equipment."

That includes several types of face masks and full body gear, though the sheriff says deputies don't wear them all of the time.

Bradshaw is also speaking out about plans by the local court system that could result in some inmates being released.

"My commitment was, and I stuck with it and I still do to this day, I am not going to release people out of their just to lower the population, because I don't need to."

Palm Beach County State Attorney Dave Aronberg, in agreeance with the county public defender and the chief judge, is lowering the bond for a number of inmates awaiting trial for non-violent crimes, he says to stop any "potential dangerous situation before it exists." This way the suspect can more easily afford to post the bond and get out.

The concern is over COVID-19...but the sheriff says there are no cases of the coronavirus in his jail.

"The vast majority of the people that are in there, they're getting better medical attention then they would on the outside. A vast majority of them probably don't even have health insurance."

He says everyone arrested gets a medical screening before being booked, and...

"Inmates are getting their temperatures taken twice a day so we can make sure that if anybody starts to spike a fever, we're going to get them out of the general population."

Bradshaw also says all of the deputies working at the jail wear masks and gloves as well as any member of law enforcement who brings in a suspect.

Image: PBSO