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Sheriff's office planning 'safe space' for public transactions

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The Gage County Sheriff’s Office is planning to implement a “safe space” where people can make exchanges.

Deputy John Chavez discussed the idea during Wednesday’s Board of Supervisors meeting, saying it would provide an area at the sheriff’s office under 24 hour surveillance where people can exchange items.

“What they are is a safe environment for individuals to meet to exchange the selling or buying of items,” he said. “As I researched it, there were some issues with social media sites where you go on and bid on an item. Where you pick it up is usually at that individual’s house. People were bidding on those items just for the purpose of being able to go to that house because they liked the way an individual looked who was selling that item, or to scope out the residence to burglarize it.”

Many area law enforcement agencies offer such places to make exchanges, and Chavez added that firearm exchanges would not be permitted at the sheriff’s office.

In addition to exchanging items following sales, Chavez said the area could also be used for custody exchanges.

“In addition to that, it can be used also for child custody exchanges,” he said. “We have had calls for service where there are issues. This kind of gives a neutral location where they can make that exchange.”

The safe exchange area is planned to be in the parking lot east of the sheriff’s office on the southwest side of the lot. The area is already under surveillance, so the cost would essentially be purchasing two signs to designate the area.

The board supported the idea, and no time frame was given when the area may be designated.

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