COVID-19 Information

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Information on how the coronavirus is impacting the Durham County Sheriff's Office and Detention Center

Sheriff's Office Operations

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The Durham County Sheriff's Office law enforcement functions are fully operational.  Deputies and other staff continue to carry out all functions of the Sheriff's Office and will continue to do so. 

The Durham County Courthouse has remained open however the North Carolina Administrative Office of the Courts, at the direction of Chief Justice Cheri Beasley, suspended many court functions. 

Beginning Monday, June 1st the Durham County Courthouse will see an influx of visitors as State Courts begin the restart process. Sheriff's Office staff is tasked with the safety and security of the courthouse, its visitors, and staff. As a result, personnel from the Sheriff's Office are prepared to welcome to the building to conduct business. In order to ensure that this process runs smoothly, we need the assistance of those coming to the courthouse to be prepared for new procedures that are currently in place. Please take a moment to familiarize yourself with this information before arriving.   

  • Only come to the courthouse if you have official business to conduct. 
  • There is limited, marked seating in each courtroom. Do not bring family and friends with you. This will ensure that everyone who needs to be inside a courtroom has access. 
  • Coronavirus screening is taking place at the entrance. Plan ahead and get to the judicial building with enough time to be screened and get to where you need to be on time.  
  • A cloth face-covering will be worn inside the facility at all times. If you do not have one there may be a limited number of masks available at the entrance. 
  • Wash your hands. Hand sanitizer stations are available for use in the lobby and throughout the courthouse, in addition, there are washrooms on each floor.
  • Stay 6 feet apart from others at all times. Floors have been marked throughout the courthouse to assist you in maintaining social distancing.
  • Some offices allow a limited number of people to wait in their lobby, please note posted limits before entering these areas.
  • Utilize online resources or call the appropriate agency before arriving to confirm you can conduct your business. Sheriff's Office court personnel does not have information on court dates. 

For information on all court related issues please visit the North Carolina Courts website.   

The screening questions are as follows:  

Within the past 14 days have you or anyone living in your household had any of the following symptoms?

  • Fever above 100.4

  • Cough

  • Shortness of Breath

  • Have you had close contact with anyone who is under quarantine or has a current positive test for COVID-19?

The records division of Sheriff's Office remains open to the public. If you require fingerprinting services, please make an appointment online.  When you arrive, follow posted guidance for the number of people that can be in the records division lobby at one time. The floor is marked outside the records office to assist you with social distancing if a line begins to form.

Our Animal Services building is closed to the public. All rabies vaccination and micro-chipping clinics are suspended.  If your pet needs a vaccination, many local veterinarians are open and can assist you until clinics begin again. As a result of the staffing limits at the shelter, animal surrender pick-ups and trapping services are also suspended. If you need assistance from an Animal Services deputy because of an injured or dangerous animal or for other regular services, call our communications center at 919-560-0900.  During business hours Animal Services staff may be reached at 919-560-0630 to answer questions or take reports.  

Information and answers to many frequently asked questions can be found on the Sheriff's Office website so we ask that you check online, call, or email the appropriate department before coming to our office as we may be able to assist you over the phone or electronically.  Should you need to come to our office, you will find glass partitions are closed to maintain social distancing while our staff assists you.   

Finally, be patient and understanding as visitors and staff adjust to new procedures. If we work together, we will ensure that business is conducted quickly and safely. 

For the most up to date information on COVID-19, please visit the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services website.  For Durham County specific information visit the Durham Department of Public Health's Coronavirus Data Hub.

Detention Center Operations


The Durham County Detention facility is taking extra measures to ensure that detainees are protected from the coronavirus.  Beginning on Friday, March 13 Sheriff Birkhead approved the following changes for detention center operations.  All changes became effective Monday March 16, 2020: 

  • All first appearance hearings are being conducted by video conference.
  • Attorneys and bonding agents are utilizing video kiosks in the magistrate area to confer with clients. 
  • All in-person and video visitation has been suspended. All visitation will now be conducted remotely. Information on how to use remote visitation is posted on our website.
  • In addition to current medical screenings conducted at intake, detention center medical staff are conducting additional screenings for signs and symptoms of COVID-19, including inquiring about recent travel, exposure to a diagnosed case, and attendance at public gatherings.
  • Arrestees entering the facility with no signs or systems will remain in the classification area of the facility for 14 days prior to being assigned to a pod.
  • Once an individual is assigned to a pod, they will be screened again by medical personnel for symptoms of COVID-19.
  • Signage is in place throughout the detention center with information for detainees regarding COVID-19’s signs and symptoms. Officers are monitoring detainee’s health and will notify medical personal should suspected symptoms develop.
  • Masks have been made available to those housed in the facility.
  • All classification, medical, and mental health interviews conducted by staff are being completed outside the cell door to create a barrier during the interview. All pre-trial interviews are being conducted in the same manner.
  • Until further notice, all non-essential civilians are not be permitted to enter the secure portion of the facility.