The National Sheriffs' Association (NSA) picked the Pinal County Sheriff's Office as one of three out of 3,000 Sheriffs' Office in the United States to create a Continuity of Operations Plan. The three sheriffs' Office selected represent a small, medium and large sheriff's office. Pinal County represents the medium sized sheriff's office. The completed documents will be used as a model for other law enforcement agencies to follow.
The Pinal County Sheriff’s Office performs essential functions and services that may be adversely impacted in the event of a pandemic influenza event, or any other natural or man-made disaster. In such events, the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office should have plans to continue to operate our core missions. Maintaining essential functions and services is a vital element in our organization’s ability to continue operations. There is great potential for disruption of national and community infrastructures including transportation, commerce, utilities, and public safety due to widespread illness and death among workers and their families.
A pandemic influenza event occurs “when a novel influenza virus emerges that can infect and be efficiently transmitted among individuals because of a lack of pre-existing immunity in the population. Pandemic influenza is a unique public health emergency and community disaster. Pandemic influenza is considered to be a relatively high probability event, even inevitable by many experts, yet no one knows when the next pandemic will occur; there may be very little warning. A worldwide influenza pandemic event could claim millions of lives, including as many as 700,000 Americans within six months of an outbreak. Current Pandemic concerns have been triggered by the strain of avian influenza (or bird flu) circulating in Asia and Europe, with a reported 50 percent mortality rate among those humans infected.
The Continuity of Operations Plan (COOP) for the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office was written to address the threat of a possible future influenza pandemic, as well as all-hazards threats, that may affect Pinal County. This COOP represents a broad series of guidelines for action that the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office will follow in case the influenza pandemic threat is realized. By providing these guidelines we hope to ensure the continuity of mission essential functions through a full spectrum of potential threats. Preparing a Pandemic Influenza COOP essentially provides for all other situations that strain the infrastructure of an organization.