By Richard Rourk
Local first responders are on the frontlines of the COVID-19 crisis and the Unicoi County Sheriff’s Department has committed to protecting and serving the community.
Unicoi County Sheriff Mike Hensley recently announced that Unicoi County Sheriff’s deputies will be delivering essential items to high-risk citizens.
“The Unicoi County Sheriff Department has assigned two deputies to pick up essential grocery items and medications for those in Unicoi County who are in the high risk category when it comes to COVID- 19,” Hensley said. “As part of our ongoing commitment to serve our county, I have expanded our public service role in my department. We realize that several of our elderly fall into the high risk category, and may have difficulties getting out to retrieve essential items.”
Hensley decided that in light of the Presidential Declaration of National Emergency in response to the possibility of the COVID-19 virus hitting the region, it was time to offer the citizens of Unicoi County limited delivery of essential medicines and necessary grocery items.
“I have made arrangements with local businesses to take orders and payments over the phone,” Hensley said. “We started Wednesday, March 18. Our officers will pick up and deliver medications from local pharmacies and small orders from local grocery stores here in our county. We ask that the items be prepaid prior to the officers picking them up. You will also need to let the pharmacy know that an officer will be picking up the medicines for you. Due to manpower, we can only offer pickups at local pharmacies 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.”
UCSD is making pickups from Clinchfield Drug, Roller Pharmacy, Walgreens, CVS, Food Lion, Food City, Priceless Foods and Walmart.
Hensley acknowledged that the officers would not be able to give transport to citizens. “Unfortunately, our officers will not be able to give rides,” Hensley said. “This service will include deliveries only. As expected, emergency calls for service will come first and foremost.”
According to Hensley, the project has been a success.
“We’ve had a good response from the community. We’ve been able to utilize several of our SRO’s for this,” Hensley said.
If someone you know is in the high risk category and needs assistance, please contact the Unicoi County Sheriff’s Department between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. at 743-1864 and UCSD will arrange to get your items to you.
As always, if you have an emergency, dial 911.