We have compiled a list of responses from several Northern California police agencies in regards to the overnight curfew issued by Governor Gavin Newsom on Thursday. We will update the article as more agencies provide statements.
Starting Nov. 21, all non-essential work, movement and gatherings must cease between 10 p.m. to 5 a.m.
Plumas County Sheriff's Office, Sheriff Todd Johns
As you may be aware, California's Public Health Officer, Dr. Erica S. Pan, issued a Limited Stay at Home Order on November 19, 2020, which took effect at 10:00 p.m. on Saturday, November 21, 2020, and will remain in effect until 5:00 AM on December 21, 2020. In general terms, the order provides that ‘non-essential’ work, movement, and gatherings are prohibited between 10:00 PM and 5:00 AM in counties within the purple tier.
There has been considerable speculation and rumoring regarding the restrictions imposed by the order, including the extent to which the Sheriff’s Office will enforce this order.
As the Sheriff of Plumas County, I want to assure you that the basic laws which protect our freedoms are inviolable and this Office will not be formally involved in this order’s enforcement. Simply put, deputies will not be checking on homes and stopping vehicles to ensure compliance with this order.
I continue to ask that the members of our community take personal responsibility for their health and well-being and do all they can to help protect the same of other members of our community. I cannot overstate the importance of voluntary compliance with common-sense measures, such as social distancing, the use of face-coverings where appropriate, proper hygiene, staying at home when sick, and other related health recommendations.
Siskiyou County Sheriff's Office, Sheriff Jeremiah LaRue:
"Since March, it has been, and will continue to be, the practice of the Siskiyou County Sheriff’s Office (SCSO) to take an education-based approach to keeping others informed about COVID-19 and health-related guidelines and orders. This approach has been overwhelmingly successful for us, and we see no need to change our methodology.
We want the community to stay informed, apply good judgment, be considerate of each other, and behave responsibly concerning COVID-19; however, we also don’t want residents and guests to be afraid or concerned about being pulled over, issued a citation, or arrested in this county for violation of this and other health-related orders.
Therefore, to ensure the protection of constitutional rights of all our residents and guests, and to protect deputies from unnecessary close interactions with others, the SCSO will not be responding to calls solely for the purposes of investigating incidents related to face coverings, social gatherings, or to count how many people are at your table during Thanksgiving dinner.
The SCSO will continue prioritizing resources to areas that need utmost attention, and we trust the community of Siskiyou County will continue exercising good judgment regarding COVID-19. We encourage you to continue being mindful about the health and well-being of yourself and others, but do not worry about the SCSO taking enforcement action regarding these orders.
Please have a safe and healthy Thanksgiving!"
Paradise Police Department, Chief Eric Reinbold:
"On November 19th the Paradise Police Department learned of the Limited Stay at Home Order issued by CA Governor Newsom for counties categorized in the COVID-19 "Purple Tier." This order is set to go into effect on Saturday (November 21st) and restricts non-essential work, movement, and gatherings between the hours of 10:00 pm and 5:00 am. ;This order is set to remain in effect until 5:00 am December 21, 2020.
The Paradise Police Department remains committed to serving our Community members through proactive enforcement, responding to reports of criminal behavior and impacts to public safety, however we will not be responding to calls based solely on non-compliance of this order. Our Officers will educate the public regarding this order and we entrust that our Community members will engage in responsible behavior during this order.
I would like to wish everyone a Happy and Safe Thanksgiving."
Redding Police Department, Chief Bill Schueller:
"Yesterday, a “Limited Stay At Home Order” was issued by the California Department of Public Health, effective this Saturday, November 28th. The order requires “that all gatherings with members of other households and all activities conducted outside the residence, lodging, or temporary accommodation with members of other households cease between 10:00pm PST and 5:00am PST, except for those activities associated with the operation, maintenance, or usage of critical infrastructure or required by law.” This curfew provision is for counties in the purple tier.
The Redding Police Department does not have adequate resources to proactively go to homes and businesses to determine if they are in violation of this curfew order, nor can we respond to calls for service from the public requesting enforcement of this order. Callers reporting curfew violations to our dispatch center, Shascom911, will be referred to Shasta County Public Health.
I have concerns about the spread of Covid-19 in our community and encourage our community to follow public health guidelines, but this is a public health issue and not a criminal one. A curfew order, such as the one issued, may have significant Constitutional implications and enforcement would only result in negative outcomes with the community we are here to serve.
Our County continues to see a surge in cases and hospitalizations. I encourage you to use safe practices to stop the spread, especially this Thanksgiving. The majority of our positive cases are from large social gatherings.
Have a safe and happy Thanksgiving."
Modoc County Sheriff's Office, Sheriff Tex Dowdy:
"Modoc County has 26 active cases of COVID-19. Modoc County Public Health has been managing this health emergency. Today, the Governor announced a statewide Limited Stay at Home Order for counties in the “Purple” tier on his blueprint for reducing COVID-19, that will be in affect from 11/21/2020 to 12/21/2020. Modoc County is currently in the "Red" tier.
After many inquiries and the social angst that we have today, I want Modoc County residents to know that in no way will the Modoc County Sheriff’s Office be enforcing this health order or others that may follow. It is my belief that curfews and travel restrictions directed to our residents touch upon fundamental constitutional rights and thus are subject to strict judicial scrutiny. I will not restrict the movement of free citizens nor will I ask my deputies to.
Over the course of 8 months, the Governor has asked us to adapt, adjust and improve to help reduce the spread. We have followed his goals and roads to recovery and everchanging curve. It is unrealistic, unsustainable and irresponsible to ask California residents to shut down again. Our economic and mental health are just as important as our physical health.
I fully support our local health officials and feel that it would be in the best interest of our residents to be able to respond to this pandemic at the local level. The blanket mandates put out by the state simply do not work for a County such as ours. I am confident that Modoc County residents can and will make responsible decisions on their own to protect themselves from this virus. Having this choice is their right as Americans.
Our staff will not be regulating compliance, enforcing emergency orders related to curfews, travel, holidays or social gatherings. Furthermore, we do not have the resources to focus on such calls of these complaints. As always, if there is a potential for criminal activity or a situation impacts public safety, we will respond appropriately.
The County is working collaboratively with partners to minimize public anxiety and keep everyone informed and educated about practices that will reduce the spread of the virus.
Please take the normal precautions that you would during any flu season. We will continue to work with our County partners and our focus will always be the safety of our residents. We ask all of our residents and visitors to be responsible, be patient and be kind to one another.
Have a blessed Thanksgiving Holiday."
Shasta County Sheriff's Office, Sheriff Eric Magrini:
"I would like to take this opportunity to clarify the position of the Shasta County Sheriff’s Office regarding both existing and potential impending health orders.
The Shasta County Sheriff’s Office will not be enforcing the compliance of any health or emergency orders related to curfews, stay at home orders, Thanksgiving or other social gatherings, inside or outside the home, maximum occupancy, or mask mandates within the private or business communities.
The Sheriff’s Office will continue to appropriately respond to incidents involving criminal activity or events, which pose a potential impact to public or personal safety within our communities.
We ask everyone to please be responsible and courteous to one another and have a happy Thanksgiving Holiday."
Orland Police Department, Chief Joe Vlach:
"There is local concern and uncertainty regarding the "curfew" order from the California Department of
Public Health and what it means for our community. Our officers will not be using this "new tool" for
determining compliance with, or enforcing compliance of any health orders. Dispatch will not be sending
officers or deputies for these types of calls.
We will continue focusing our efforts on criminal activity and relying upon probable cause when making
criminal arrests, and as a reminder we do enforce park hours and noise ordinances. Our Northstate
hospitals have been greatly impacted by the recent surge of hospitalizations and bed space is at a
premium. We feel the best way to protect our hospital capacity is for our community to practice
personal responsibility to limit potential exposure and slow the spread.
Some frequently asked questions answered by the State are:
Q: What am I allowed to do between 10 PM and 5 AM? Can I pick up a gallon of milk at midnight, pick
a prescription or put gas my car?
A: Yes. Essential activities are permitted as are activities you do alone or with members of your
immediate household like walking your dog. Although Californians are highly encouraged to stay indoors
from 10 pm and 5 am, the public health order does not prohibit individuals or members of the same
household going outside so long as they don't mix with other households.
Q: Is this order asking businesses to close between 10 pm and 5 am?
A: Non-essential businesses, those that are NOT defined as critical infrastructure, should end business
operations at 10pm. Essential work is permitted to continue and food and beverage takeout services are
Q: Can I still get takeout or food delivery?
A: Yes, restaurants can stay open for takeout and delivery after 10 pm
On behalf of the men and women of the Orland Police Department, I wish everyone a fantastic
Thanksgiving Holiday, please don't drink and drive and have a safe holiday."
Corning Police Department, Chief Jeremiah Fears:
"In short - the Corning Police Department will handle this new curfew order in the same way we have the past COVID-19 orders. A complaint will be advised to call County Health and be routed to Corning City Hall. Obviously, if there is probable criminal activity that impacts the public or personal safety, we will continue to respond appropriately. Due to the sharp rise in cases in Tehama County, we ask the public to wear a mask when social distancing is not possible or cannot be guaranteed."
Chico Police Department, Chief Matt Madden:
“On November 19th the Chico Police Department became aware of a Limited Stay at Home Order issued by the Governor for counties in the purple tier. The order goes into effect on Saturday (November 21) and restricts non-essential work, movement, and gatherings between the hours of 10:00 pm and 5:00 am. The order will remain in effect until 5:00 am on December 21, 2020.
The Chico P.D. will continue to respond to any incident with the potential for criminal behavior or impacts to public safety but will not be responding to calls based solely on non-compliance with this order. Chico Police Officers have been instructed to continue to educate the public regarding these emergency orders while in their performance of their duties.
As we have during this entire pandemic, we continue to encourage responsible behavior. I would like to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving.”
Glenn County Sheriff's Office, Sheriff Richard Warren:
"In response to much social uncertainty and numerous inquiries, I wanted to clarify the position of the Glenn County Sheriff’s Office relative to existing health orders, as well as any potential impending orders at the County or State level.
It is important to note that Government Code section 8627 authorizes the Governor, during a state of emergency, to “promulgate, issue, and enforce such orders and regulations as are deemed necessary” and section 8567 states that such orders “shall have the force and effect of law”. Further, section 8665 makes violation of such an order a misdemeanor punishable by a fine not to exceed $1,000 or by imprisonment for not to exceed 6 months or both. However, section 26602 gives the sheriff the authority, but not the obligation, to enforce such orders.
In accordance with the authority granted to me under section 26602, I have decided that the Glenn 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 gathering inside or outside the home, maximum occupancy, or mask mandates. Further, we will not dispatch deputies for these purposes. Of course, if there is potential criminal behavior or the potential for impacts to public or personal safety, we will continue to respond appropriately.
Please understand that this applies only to the Glenn County Sheriff’s Office. State, County, and City agencies may be actively enforcing these orders and therefore violating these orders could subject the public to criminal and civil penalties up to and including imprisonment.
I would like to wish everyone and happy and meaningful Thanksgiving Holiday."
Butte County Sheriff's Office, Sheriff Kory Honea:
“On November 19, 2020, California's Public Health Officer, Erica S. Pan, MD, MPH, issued a ‘Limited Stay at Home Order,’ which takes effect at 10:00 PM on Saturday, November 21 and will remain in effect until 5:00 AM on December 21. In general terms, the order provides that ‘non-essential’ work, movement and gatherings are prohibited between 10:00 PM and 5:00 AM, in counties within the purple tier.
There has been a considerable amount of concern regarding the restrictions imposed by the order, including whether law enforcement will be checking on homes or stopping drivers to ensure compliance.
In these challenging times, there is a great deal of fear, anxiety and uncertainty within the community. I do not wish to compound those concerns by creating distrust and friction between residents and law enforcement.
As both Sheriff and a citizen of Butte County, the thought of law enforcement officers peeking into the windows of homes, or stopping and questioning residents regarding their destination and family relationships, merely for being outside of their homes, or visiting the home of another during the nighttime hours, all solely due to the suspicion of violating the ‘Limited Stay at Home Order,’ is very troubling.
As peace officers, we must always weigh the risks and benefits of enforcement action based on many factors. This is especially true given the evolving role of law enforcement in our society, along with a criminal justice system already strained by COVID-19 complications. I am concerned the negative impact on public trust, the high likelihood of escalation and the strain upon our limited law enforcement resources would far outweigh any benefit of enforcing such an order.
Due to the potential infringement upon constitutionally protected activities, along with the lack of feasibility and practicality of enforcing such an order, I am directing my staff to not use a suspected violation of the newly-enacted ‘Limited Stay at Home Order’ as the basis for arrest, citation, detention or stop.
With that stated, I want to implore the members of our community to take personal responsibility for their health and well-being and do all they can to help protect the health and well-being of other members of our community. I want to stress the importance of voluntary compliance with common-sense measures, such as social distancing, the use of face-coverings where appropriate, proper sanitation, staying at home when sick and other recommendations as part of a social contract between individuals, community groups, businesses and public health officials, which is critical in stemming the spread of COVID-19.”