The primary role of a deputy sheriff assigned to courts is the security of the court. In addition to this role, deputy sheriffs assigned to the courts also enforce orders as they relate to court operations and court facilities, issued by the Presiding Judge. The layout of each courtroom varies throughout the county and currently it is the responsibility of the court to address the placement and suitability of where the court wants to place the public, employees, inmates, furniture, plexiglass and other fixtures within the courtroom. The courts are operated by the State of California, and most of the employees are state employees. The assigned Sheriff’s Deputies are contracted by the state for courtroom and security.
The Presiding Judge issued an order to address face coverings and physical distancing. Court deputies have been successful in gaining voluntary compliance and will enforce those orders as needed. Social distancing has been in place since the national, state and local government identified the practice, however, enforcement of the “social distancing” section of the Presiding Judge’s order presents a challenge for deputies assigned to the courts. Staffing levels have been reduced due to fiscal challenges, which in turn, drastically limited the availability of “unassigned” or “rove” deputy sheriffs that may serve a more active role of gaining compliance with this aspect of the court order.