Dear Citizens of Jefferson County,
The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office has reviewed “Executive Order #82 – Requiring Face Coverings in Certain Situations” which was signed by Governor Tony Evers. We have cooperatively and diligently worked with the Jefferson County Health Department throughout this pandemic to develop a response to COVID-19. As we navigate through this pandemic, we continue to support and promote ways to combat this virus and reduce the spread within our community.
Since Executive Order #82 has been announced, the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, our dispatch center, and other county personnel offices have been overwhelmed with calls from citizens about the order. As this order will go into effect on Saturday at 12:01 a.m., we anticipate that these calls will only intensify coming into the “911” dispatch center.
I am asking the public to not use the 911 dispatch center to report individuals who do not properly follow the mask mandate or that you perceive are not following the mask mandate. The Governor’s Order has several areas contained within it that allow for exceptions. These exceptions include such conditions as medical conditions, trouble breathing, developmental disability and sensory sensitivities etc.
Taking into consideration that there are exceptions to the order, these exceptions may or may not be apparent and an assumption about someone’s reason for not wearing a mask may be incorrect. Governor Evers has provided guidance for situations such as these, he recommends that you do nothing, stay at least six feet away from the person not wearing a mask, and be sure to wear your mask.
As your Sheriff, I must ensure that resources are being properly allocated to the citizens of Jefferson County. With a shortage of staff in the patrol division, we must prioritize our calls and ensure that the call types requesting fire, emergency medical services, and law enforcement response does not create a public safety issue for other higher-level call responses.
The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office encourages all residents to follow safe and healthy practices during this time of COVID-19, including wearing a mask when social distancing is not possible. I recognize that during these times, each of you have independent beliefs about your personal choices and individual freedoms, I am hoping that we can all work together to respect each other and work towards returning our routines to where they were before this pandemic began.