SACRAMENTO (CBS SF) — Local public health officials will now be eligible for California’s Safe at Home confidential address program because of the threats and harassment they have faced while working to protect the public during the coronavirus pandemic.
The Safe at Home program provides a substitute mailing address and other confidentiality services for victims and survivors of sexual assault, domestic violence, stalking, human trafficking, elder/dependent adult abuse, as well as reproductive health care workers.
Public health officials have often faced the wrath of those who have been impacted by stay-at-home orders and measures to limit the spread of COVID-19, with some officials being stalked and threatened.
Last month, a community college instructor with ties to the far-right, anti-government “Boogaloo” movement was arrested for allegedly sending more than two dozen threatening letters to Santa Clara County Health Officer Dr. Sara Cody.
Dr. Cody has been one of the nation’s most visible official proponents of stay-at-home orders, social distancing and wearing masks, which has led to threats and even demonstrations at her home.
She has previously acknowledged receiving threats, telling the San Jose Mercury News in July, “we’ve all taken more heat than we usually take. I try as much as possible to keep my head down.”
“Our public health officers have all too often faced targeted harassment and stalking,” read a statement from Secretary of State Alex Padilla, whose office runs the Safe at Home program. “The Safe at Home program can help provide more peace of mind to the public health officials who have been on the frontlines of California’s COVID-19 response.
Aside from providing a confidential address and mail forwarding, the Safe at Home program also can work as an agent for service of process, provides confidential voter registration, suppress DMV records, and other privacy protections.
Public health officials that require Safe at Home confidentiality services can find information about eligibility, enrollment processes, and other details at SafeatHome.sos.ca.gov.