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JASPER — Newton County Sheriff Glenn Wheeler said his department, along with many other agencies, businesses and the general public, is making a few changes on conducting business for safety’s sake.

Public access to the office building and jail will be limited until further notice. If you have an emergency or a complaint that needs a Deputy to take a report, please call the Sheriff's Office at (870) 446-5124, option 1. If you need to pay a fine or have civil process needs, call (870) 446-5124, option 2 for instructions on how to do that.

“Unless there are drastic developments, you will not likely see any notable differences in how Patrol Deputies and Investigators conduct business,” Wheeler said in a statement. “We still take the protection of our citizens and visitors very seriously and intend to do all we can to keep those who would use a bad situation to take advantage of good people from having any extra opportunity to do so.”

Wheeler asks the public to follow these simple guidelines:

• First off, please stay calm and level-headed throughout this situation. How we react to this, or any other potentially bad situation can greatly affect how severe it becomes.

• If you don't have to gather in large groups, please don't.

• Local schools are closed in order to keep students from being exposed, so please keep them home, or at least out of public places, if possible.

• Check on elderly, sick or homebound neighbors.

*Practice good, basic hygiene such as hand washing with soap and water for at least 20 seconds and/or using hand sanitizer.

• Have basic food supplies and medicines on hand in case you can't leave your home for a few days.

• PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE don't hog all the toilet paper!

“Also, please don't take what you hear ‘through the grapevine’ or on social media as the truth,” Wheeler said. “There is a lot of false information and scare mongering out there. You can check the CDC website or visit and click on the COVID-19 link for very up-to-date information as it pertains to Arkansas.

“Let's all calmly work together to get through this situation, check on our neighbors, family and friends, and keep our medical professionals, First Responders and those who have to be out and about in our prayers. Newton County is full of wonderful, caring, self-sufficient people and we will get through this together.

“We will keep you updated with any pertinent changes,” he concluded.

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