No Papers, No Random Stops: Police Chief Addresses Stay-At-Home Enforcement Rumors

During a question and answer session held on Facebook live Wednesday regarding the Stay At Home orders issued by Springfield and Greene County, Springfield Police Chief Paul Williams definitely dispelled rumors flying around social media regarding enforcement of the ordinances.

“We are not going to be indiscriminately stopping people to check to see what their status is or where they’re going,” Williams said in answer to a question. “The city nor the county is issuing some kind of papers nor permits or something that someone has to carry to show police.”

Postings on Facebook and Twitter from some of the city and county government’s critics were claiming that citizens would be required to “have papers” to travel outside of their homes and that police would be making random stops to interrogate people on why they were out of their homes.

Williams also pointed out the police department is just one part of the overall enforcement of the order.

“Our BDS [Building Development Services], our licensing department, city legal, and county officials,” Williams said in reference to who would be working to enforce the regulations.

Williams did say police would come out if someone reports a violation, just as they would with any other potential crime.

“What we normally do is we respond, we investigate, we see if someone is in compliance or not,” Williams said. “And then in most cases, what would normally do is we would try to mitigate that and try to get someone to comply if we determine they’re not in compliance.”

Williams added the first of the police department would not be to go in and arrest someone or shut someone down.

Greene County Commissioner Bob Dixon commented on the people asking about what would happen if they violated the ordinance by asking what these people would be gaining by their actions.

“Why would anyone willingly put others at risk at such a time?” Dixon asked.

Williams said people can just go about their lives keeping the current restrictions in mind.

“You’re going to the grocery store, you’re going to the bank, you’re going to the hospital…there’s a whole list of places you can go for a myriad of reasons,” Chief Williams said. Williams said if someone is stopped for some valid reason, the officers may ask why you’re out.

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