Police enforcing executive order with education first

Sgt. George Crolly said there is a lot of misinformation floating around about the stay at home order.

Posted: Mar 24, 2020 7:00 PM

SPRINGFIELD Ore. -- With Gov. Kate Brown's latest executive order in effect, police say they are working to educate the public before handing out fines or putting people in jail.

The stay at home order required some businesses to close, prohibits non-essential social and recreational gatherings, regardless of size, if a distance of at least six feet between individuals cannot be maintained, and more.

RELATED: BROWN ISSUES 'STAY AT HOME' ORDER, EFFECTIVE IMMEDIATELY

Sgt. George Crolly with the Springfield Police Department said they are not having officers go out and look for people violating the orders. Instead, they're working on a complaint basis. He said it would take repeated offenses before they would put people in jail for 30 days or give them a fine of $1,250. He said the Oregon Health Authority and Oregon Liquor Control Commission can also enforce the order in regard to businesses.

"Fortunately, the police department has a good relationship with the community, so we are able to put messages out about what our government wants us to do and our community reacts in a positive way," Crolly said.

Crolly said there is a lot of misinformation floating around about the executive order. He said they have taken some calls from people wondering what they can and can't do.

"We've received a couple of calls of people asking what kind of paperwork they need to go to work or the doctor's office. None of that is required," Crolly said.

Rita Claremont had to take her dog the veterinarian. She's urging people to take these orders seriously.

"If we are overreacting, we will know later, and people won't be sick, but if we're underreacting, it's going to catastrophic," Claremont said.

Police in Eugene said they are also working on educating the public at this time and have already had to educate some people on social distancing.

Leaders at Oregon State Police say they view citation and arrest as a last resort and are hoping for voluntary compliance.

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