Area sheriff’s departments not enforcing mask mandate
LA CROSSE Wis. (WEAU) -
Governor Evers announced a statewide mask mandate Thursday afternoon that goes into effect Saturday at midnight.
While the order says local and state officials will enforce it, it’s unclear how it will be enforced.
For the La Crosse County Sheriff’s Department, they say the $200 fine is not something they plan to give out as they are focused on other matters.
“[We’re focused on] traffic crashes, criminal investigations, crime is up, domestic abuse cases [are] up,” said Jeff Wolf, the Sheriff of La Crosse County. “I don’t see designating time or resources to enforce a mask order.”
It isn’t just the La Crosse County Sheriff’s Department who share those feelings.
The sheriff’s departments for several other counties in our viewing area released similar statements saying they will not be actively enforcing the mandate, but hope that people will follow the guidelines.
The La Crosse County Sheriff’s Department says if you see someone in a public building that is not wearing a face covering, do not call 911.
“We don’t need 911 calls to the dispatch center meant for true emergencies,” Wolf explained. “In the order itself, there are numerous exemptions and who is someone to make a determination if somebody has a medical illness or a reason that they can’t wear a mask?”
Deputies in La Crosse say they hope for the same response as when the Safer-At-Home order was put in place.
“In the La Crosse area we had very few if any complaints related to it,” Wolf added. “People followed the directives as best they could.”
The Sheriff says his statement has nothing to do with politics or his thoughts on the effectiveness of masks-- instead just clarifying how his department will act.
“We’re working hard, we’re going to continue to work hard doing what we’re sworn to do,” said Wolf. “We will rely on the health department to work with the community and the businesses to make sure everyone is safe.”
As for compliance with local businesses, the Sheriff says he will leave that up to the health department.
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