To the citizens of Austin County,

We at the sheriff’s office want to take just a moment to help with all the information being put out through the media and social media outlets. We want the citizens of Austin County to know that we are on duty and responding to your calls just as we always have. Our department is healthy and at work for you.

This is not a time for panic or fear. This is a time for caution and wisdom. We want you to know that we support our County Judge, our Governor and our President who are working hard to gather information in a rapidly changing environment and we are talking with our own emergency services personnel to make the best decisions on how to respond and keep our community safe.

At this time, we are asking you not to come to the sheriff’s office. We are in the middle of construction with large trucks and equipment moving around our buildings and very little space for them to move about. If you need to report a crime or ask a question, please call. We will send a deputy or have a deputy contact you.

We are still responding but for the safety of our community and our deputies, we may handle some calls for service by phone. When our deputies arrive to a call, they may ask you to come outside when possible to talk so that we can keep safe distances and we don’t transmit something to you from the last contact we had. Please try to cooperate with our deputies’ requests and if you cannot please explain that to them so we avoid conflict.

Please know that we have taken steps at the sheriff’s office to keep our personnel safe and healthy. We have plans in place to maintain our staffing levels in the event some of our deputies are exposed to this virus and need to be quarantined or become ill.

We are asking that as much as it is possible for you, please make every effort to follow the requests of the County Judge, Governor, and President. If we will all do our part, we will get past this more quickly and more effectively, but it will take all of us doing our part.

If you know of someone who may be high risk for serious illness or death from this virus and who may need assistance in getting groceries, please let us know. We will make every attempt to make sure those individuals get the help they need without putting themselves in harm’s way.

Our sheriff’s department is your department and your community is our community. Together we will come through this time more united and connected than ever before.

Thank you for your support and cooperation.

Sheriff Jack W. Brandes