Coronavirus roundup 2 for March 16th: Columbus services; Libraries closing; Police, sheriff’s services

City of Columbus announcing changes to services

You are all aware of the many actions being taken by the federal government, State of Indiana, local governments, local health care providers, businesses, etc. – to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 – the Coronavirus. We want to keep you as updated as possible on city policies – although it seems like the health situation changes daily, and even hourly.

GOAL: The goal of actions the City will be taking include keeping Essential City Services running, protecting City Staff and following the guidelines from the Center for Disease Control (CDC), Indiana State Health Department and our local medical professionals. However, we will be limiting the number of staff in our facilities, and request the public call or email prior to coming into a building.

City Services: We will continue to provide City services – but using the minimum level of staffing possible.

  1. First Responders – Police and Fire: City Fire and Police will continue to be fully staffed and follow normal schedules.
  2. Transit: We will stop fixed routes as of Tuesday night but will continue to offer Call-A-Bus services for people with medical needs.
  3. Animal Care: Animal Care offices will be locked but individuals can make appointments. Animal Care Officers will respond to emergency situations and staff will continue the feeding and care of animals. Animal Care Services will send a separate Press release with information.
  4. Department of Public Works: Trash pickup will continue on schedule, along with other maintenance work on roads, etc.
  5. City Utilities: City Utilities will continue to oversee the water and sewer plants and continue to provide service in the field. In addition, their drive-in window will be open for payments but their lobby will be closed.
  6. Parks Buildings: All Park Department buildings will be closed to the public but staff will be available by email and by phone. The Commons, Donner Center, Hamilton Center and the Columbus Gymnastics Center had been closed previously.  All outdoor playgrounds will continue to be open and will be cleaned daily by City Park staff.
  7. City Hall: City Hall will remain open but with limited staff. We ask the public to email or phone prior to coming into the building if possible.

Columbus police institute changes in response to virus

The Columbus Police Department has established a number of practices in response to the coronavirus COVID-19 situation in Bartholomew County. The changes have been made to reduce unnecessary risk of exposure in order to protect the employees of the Columbus Police Department, as well as the citizens we serve. The community may notice some changes in the way officers respond to calls.

  • Officers will still respond to major case investigations, such as calls regarding crimes in progress, motor vehicle crashes with injuries, missing person/runaway cases, and domestic disturbances. However, they may take certain precautions including social distancing, and using personal protective equipment.
  • In more minor cases, CPD is encouraging members of the public to make reports over the phone. Callers may receive a return phone call from officers in an attempt to handle low level, non-emergency calls over the phone. The types of calls for which this could happen include minor motor vehicle crashes, vandalism, harassment, and thefts
  • Officers may ask for callers to step outside their residences to conduct investigations in open air, and avoid unnecessary physical contact, such as handshakes
  • CPD is suspending fingerprinting services until further notice.
  • The Columbus Police Department is still in full operation, and officers are making response decisions in consultation with their supervisors

Bartholomew Sheriff outlines changes for deputies

The goal of your Bartholomew County Sheriff’s Office is to reduce as much person-to-person contact as possible in order to mitigate the risks associated with the transmission of novel coronavirus.

BCSO is still responding to all emergency calls.  If you have an emergency, call 911 – we will respond as usual.

For all non-emergency calls – please call Dispatch at 812-379-1689.  A deputy will respond via telephone.  Beginning tomorrow (Tuesday, March 17, 2020), two deputies will be assigned to BCSO’s front desk, during first and second shift, to take reports over the telephone.

  • Incident reports can be emailed, faxed or mailed by calling 812-379-1650.  For state accident reports, please go online to:
  • Bartholomew County Jail Visitation – Cancelled
  • Work Crew – Cancelled
  • No fingerprints will be given until further notice.
  • Public restrooms located in the lobby at the Bartholomew County Jail are closed until further notice.
  • Courts have suspended all weekend commitments.
  • BCSO employees have proper safety equipment/gear.

“Our leadership team is being very proactive in providing and adhering to a plan that will work for our agency and for citizens of Bartholomew County”, said Bartholomew County Sheriff Matthew A. Myers.

“BCSO deputies will not be giving criminals in Bartholomew County a “pass card” during this crisis.”  “I assure you, we will continue with all Sheriff’s Office and Jail services”, added Sheriff Myers.

Bartholomew County Public Library closing branches

From: Jason Hatton, director, of the Bartholomew County Public Library

With lots of discussion and the guidance from the city, other entities, and state/federal officials, the Bartholomew County Public Library has made the decision to close all locations and bookmobile services to the public as of Monday, March 16 at 1 p.m.

As already announced, all library programming has also been cancelled.

We are closing to protect the health of our staff and our patrons and it is a decision that we have not made lightly. While we provide an essential service to many patrons, we feel that by closing we will hopefully stop the spread of this virus sooner. Presently, we plan to reopen with normal hours and services on Monday, April 6 – but we will continue to assess the situation to determine if a longer closure is warranted.

During this time, we will be updating our social media channels: Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, to share information with patrons, including updates on our closure and tips for making the most of online Library resources.

We also encourage you to visit to explore books, movies, research tools, and more to download and stream. Take this opportunity to explore the tens of thousands of resources available to you from home with your library card.

If you need assistance, please email [email protected] if you have questions or need some help troubleshooting. We will also be working to provide some virtual programming throughout the closure as well as sharing the great resources being made available by others.

Don’t worry about things like overdue books or returning items – any physical materials currently checked out will have their due dates extended until we reopen. And any holds that were placed will be waiting for you to pick up when we reopen.

We hope you understand that to interrupt our mission of providing access to people, ideas, information, and experiences is something we do only because we feel we have no other choice. Please stay safe, monitor your health, follow guidelines recommended by the Center for Disease Control, and check for updates at the Indiana State Department of Health website.

We look forward to seeing you again when we reopen, and in the meantime, please take care of yourself and those around you.