More Cops Say They Won’t Enforce Coronavirus Curfews
California curfew starts Saturday. As expected, California Gov. Gavin Newsom has announced an overnight stay-at-home order, telling residents to curtail nonessential activities between the hours of 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. from this Saturday through December 21. California follows in the footsteps of New York, Ohio, and Oklahoma.
Though it will not cover the whole state, the new directive applies to all counties in California’s pandemic purple tier—the color representing the most severe outbreaks—and effectively covers most of the state’s population. “Roughly 94% of Californians—37 million people—live in counties that are in the purple tier,” reports the Los Angeles Times. “The state has reported an average of more than 10,000 new cases each day over the last week,” the paper notes.
But not all local law enforcement authorities in California are on board. A number of county sheriffs say they won’t enforce the curfew orders.
“On Nov. 19 the California Department of Public Health issued a curfew order for the state of California. The El Dorado County Sheriff’s Office is aware and will not be enforcing this curfew order,” the office said in a statement.
Fresno County Sheriff’s Office followed suit. “We’re not gonna make criminals of normally law-abiding citizens,” Sheriff Margaret Mims said at a press conference yesterday. “I haven’t seen any data for instance that shows that between the hours of 10 p.m. and 5 a.m., that things happen that cause a big spread of COVID.”
Neither Merced County nor Sacramento County sheriffs plan to enforce the order.
“The Sacramento County Sheriff’s Office will not be determining—including entering any home or business—compliance with, or enforcing compliance of, any health or emergency orders related to curfews, staying at home, Thanksgiving or other social gatherings inside or outside the home, maximum occupancy, or mask mandates,” said Sheriff Scott Jones in a statement.
“The Merced County Sheriff’s Office will not be determining compliance or enforcing any health or emergency orders related to curfews, Thanksgiving, or other social gatherings inside or outside the home, maximum occupancy, or mask mandates in Merced County,” the sheriff’s office wrote on Facebook.
It has been the policy of the Sheriff’s Department to encourage responsible behavior and compliance with the Governor’s orders. To ensure constitutional rights are not violated and to limit potential negative interactions and exposure to our deputies, we will not be responding to calls for service based solely on non-compliance with the new order or social distancing and mask guidelines.
San Jose Inside reports that in Silicon Valley, city police departments say they have similar plans:
Mountain View Police Department spokeswoman Katie Nelson said that “much like with previous state stay-at-home orders, and other county public health mandates, [MVPD] will continue to take an educational approach.”
San Jose Police Department spokesman Sgt. Christian Camarillo said his agency would take a similar tack instead of issuing citations. “In addition, we will not be utilizing this curfew as probable cause to detain persons during the curfew hours,” he assured.
Some sheriffs in Ohio are also resisting enforcement of the state’s 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew, which began yesterday.
“It is up to the business owners to enforce this as they do with the requirements to wear a shirt and shoes,” Geauga County Sheriff Scott A. Hildenbrand wrote on Facebook.
In Butler County, just north of Cincinnati, Sheriff Richard K. Jones said earlier this week: “I’m not going to have my employees go out and make arrests, or stop people.” He continued, “People are angry, and I don’t care what the governor says, somebody will disobey or run. Bad things will happen from this curfew.”
Some Cincinnati area police are also skeptical, reports WLWT5 Cincinnati:
“How do you stop someone at 11 o’clock at night and then they say we’re going to McDonald’s? How do you enforce that?” said Newtown police Chief Tom Synan. “We have no intention of enforcing the cur
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