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Racine County Sheriff will not enforce Safer at Home order after its extension

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RACINE COUNTY, WIs. (CBS 58 ) -- The Racine County Sheriff has no plans to enforce state public health orders on COVID-19.

Gov. Evers announced Thursday that he was extending his Safer-at-Home order through May 26.

In a media release on Friday, Sheriff Christopher Schmaling said his office will not interfere with the rights of citizens.

Schmaling wrote that state law is not above people’s constitutional rights to freedom.

And despite a public health crisis, he believes there is a safe way for businesses to be open.

Schmaling urged the Wisconsin Department of Health Services to come up with a new plan.

He called current measures “overreaching” and some residents agree.

“I don’t think it’s necessary for the law to enforce the requirements for business owners, I think they can do that on their own," Mount Pleasant resident Lee Ahern said.

“We have great respect for the sheriff and that idea," said Geri DuMont, owner of Dewey's Restaurant and Sport Bar.

DuMont said each business is different, and any success ultimately depends on the people.

The restaurant closed on March 15.

“It’s not going to help matters until the public is ready to come out and eat," DuMont added.

Schmaling still encourages residents to be responsible and follow health guidelines.

But he will now leave enforcement to state and local health experts.

He said his office will focus on keeping the “roads safe” and protecting citizens from “criminal activity.”

“He should focus on social distancing," Racine resident Daniel Martinez said. “Because there’s a lot of people out there that just don’t care about germs."

In a separate and unrelated action, Milwaukee County leaders issued their own statement.

The Chief Law Enforcement Executives Association told CBS 58 agencies are working with health departments to educate the public on restrictions.

They say those who willfully put others at risk will be referred for charges.

In a statement, the Wisconsin Sheriffs & Deputy Sheriffs Association said:

"As an organization that represents all Wisconsin sheriffs and deputy sheriffs, we do not take a stance on whether the governor's extension of the Stay at Home order is appropriate or not, and it is up to each sheriff on what portions of those orders he or she chooses to enforce."
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CaddyVista1980 46 days ago
Sounds like they are playing the let the Businesses find out the hard way game, which they will. This way they don’t have to really get involved in it. My family, friends and relatives will be safer at home Thank you ! We all have our own choice to make here, Be Smarter than the system !!!!
Kevin 47 days ago
He's obviously pandering to the citizens who are frustrated with staying home. Most law enforcement officials anywhere are NOT arresting people for being out. Sounds like a PR move.

Id be curious to know what his deputies will do if say a large group of people were hanging out at a park or beach in close proximity to each other. Say nothing? Do nothing? Then he is putting residents at risk and not keeping residents of his county safe. His choice I guess.
Latoya 47 days ago
WoW we don't even have enough test in wisconsin to test all of its citizens we can't even go to the ER unless your half dead they just announced milwaukee is turning state fair grounds to a make shift hospital and people are protesting to be able to go sit at a restaurant or go to the beauty shop..Yes thousands die from the flu each year but hundreds of thousands don't die world wide in a matter of days like this disease is doing us..It's so irresponsible for our leaders like the clown n chief and now the sheriff to have total disregard for human lives did we not learn from the Spanish flu 50 million people lost there lives. People already don't wash there hands cover there mouths and with this going on all of a sudden we trust those individuals to do right? Social distance is the key the faster we abide by those rules the faster we can get back to work...Wake up people donald trump is a wooden god is unreal..
LarryG 48 days ago
He's got it right but I would wait for May 1st. After May 1st, open the stores but nobody gets in without a face mask until further notice. May 26th is just ludicrous.
Lawrence LarryG 48 days ago
May 26 can be pulled in if conditions and the best numbers support doing so.
Announcing a date earlier, than possible having to extend again, would be poor planning and would be a poor response.
Rommel 48 days ago
Perhaps Sheriff,stick to law enforcement not politics.
Lawrence 48 days ago
He must be an epidemiologist who knows much more than all those other scientists, head of the CDC, Fauci, doctors and health professionals who disagree.
Or, he's just a Turnip believer in the wrong job.
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