A California sheriff said she would not enforce the new curfew decreed by Governor Gavin Newsom. The statement joins that of several colleagues and state police chiefs.
Newsom announced a series of measures Thursday, including orders not to leave the house and nightly curfews for non-essential work between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. every Saturday until Dec. 21.
The Democratic governor’s provisions drew criticism from various quarters, especially law enforcement agencies, which argued that there is no need to resort to such drastic measures that limit civil liberties.
One such person was the Fresno sheriff, Margaret Mims, who declared that she would not penalize residents who did not follow the curfew.
“We’ve got a lot of things to do, including taking guns away from gang members, stopping narcotic trafficking, and saving children from internet predators,” Mims explained during a Thursday afternoon briefing.
“We’re not gonna make criminals of normally law-abiding citizens,” she said, explaining that the department will not set up any checkpoints or stop people from checking their reason for being out after curfew.
She added: “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.”
FOX 26 reported that the sheriff said the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal EOS) acknowledged that Governor Newsom does not expect local police to follow the order.
Indeed, other law enforcement agencies plan to adopt a similar non-intervention approach to curfew.
According to Fox News, Merced County Deputy Sheriffs, Madera Police, Visalia Police, and Kings County Deputies, among others, plan to continue their regular activities rather than refocus on curfew.
“We’re not going to enforce any of those orders,” said Kings County Sheriff’s Commander David Dodd.
“The Kings County Board of Supervisors has asked us to take an educational approach. We’re going to refer people to the written guidelines to prevent the spread,” added Dodd, according to KMJ Now.
According to the same media, Fresno’s city sent a statement Thursday asking residents to “voluntarily comply” with the curfew.
Also, Governor Newsom found himself in the middle of controversy—for which he had to publicly apologize—after it was revealed that he attended a birthday party in Napa County despite his critical stance on those who gather at the homes of relatives and friends.