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Sentinel staff report–
Following Gov. Gavin Newsom’s issuance of a curfew order affecting Sacramento County and the majority of the state, Citrus Heights Police Chief Ronald Lawrence echoed other area law enforcement officials in stating that his officers won’t be policing Thanksgiving gatherings or detaining citizens over health orders.
“Citrus Heights Police will not be regulating families or loved ones celebrating during the Thanksgiving holiday, and we will not be entering homes for the purpose of determining if families are in compliance with the State public health order,” Lawrence said in an email response to The Sentinel Saturday.
The police chief also said his officers will “not be detaining citizens solely for the purpose of determining compliance of the public health orders, and we will not be detaining anyone without legal authority to do so.”
Lawrence said his department has been in regular communication with other law enforcement agencies in the county “to ensure consistency” in how to respond to public health orders. He said his department’s approach “has always been, and remains to be, education, awareness and asking for voluntary compliance.”
Noting limited resources, he said Citrus Heights police will continue prioritizing response to “life-threatening emergencies, serious in-progress crimes, and immediate life-safety issues.”
Law enforcement agencies who have said they will not be enforcing the curfew include the sheriff’s departments of Fresno and El Dorado County. Sacramento County Sheriff Scott Jones in a statement Friday said he had received numerous inquiries about the curfew order, and clarified that his department would not be enforcing the order.
“The Sacramento 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 gatherings inside or outside the home, maximum occupancy, or mask mandates,” Jones said in a statement that was widely shared on social media. The El Dorado County Sheriff’s Department also issued a similarly worded statement.
Lawrence said police in Citrus Heights rely on residents to “use good judgement with compliance to the public health orders issued by the state or county.” To assist businesses, he also said his department has been giving out thousands of free face coverings to local stores, which the city procured from the state.
Governor Newsom on Thursday issued the statewide curfew affecting any counties in the “Purple Tier” of COVID-19 restrictions, which includes Sacramento County and the majority of counties across the state.
In a tweet, the governor said non-essential work and gatherings must halt between 10 pm. and 5 a.m., in counties affected by the curfew. He said the order would be in effect beginning at 10 p.m. on Nov. 21 and remain in place for one month.
The order was issued in response to a steep rise in COVID-19 cases across the state. The governor’s office described the order as a “limited stay at home order,” as compared with a more broad stay-at-home order issued early in the pandemic to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
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