CADILLAC — Shortly after Gov. Gretchen Whitmer made the announcement she had signed a stay at home executive order Monday, the Wexford County Sheriff's Office started getting calls.
Wexford County Sheriff Trent Taylor said he wants to assure the public there is no reason to panic regarding the executive order and there is no reason to think a person will get thrown in jail if they are out after 11 p.m. He also said he is not planning on having any checkpoints, instructing deputies to initiate traffic stops to verify the reason a person is out on the road and people can still walk their dogs and go about their daily lives.
In essence, police are not going hassle you for being out.
"Obviously, we have altered our operations, however, our law enforcement operations, as well as our jail, are still up and running," he said. "As of right now, we don't have any indications that any of our employees have contracted COVID-19 nor have any inmates," he said. "We are working hard to make sure that doesn't happen."
The Cadillac Michigan State Police Post also said it has no plans to randomly stop people or perform any coordinated campaign to inspect businesses to ensure compliance with this order, Executive Orders do carry the weight of law and law enforcement agencies in Wexford County stand ready to enforce any aspect of these orders, if needed.
Individuals or businesses who violate an executive order can face up to a $500 fine and 90-day misdemeanor offense. Businesses involved in a regulated industry may also face other licensing restrictions.
Wexford County Prosecutor Jason Elmore echoed those sentiments and said law enforcement continues to be hard at work. Police officers are still on duty ready to serve and protect our communities, streets, homes, and businesses, according to Elmore.
He also said his office is working with the Wexford County Jail and district court to manage the flow of people into the jail.
"We are clearly concerned with maintaining the health and safety of our officers, corrections personnel, and our pre and post-trial detainees and inmates," Elmore said "We are maximizing the use of personal recognizance bonds and random testing and home tether equipment, where available. Like everything else, such testing and monitoring capabilities are limited."
Elmore also said law enforcement is already seeing a "significant decrease in crime." He also said the lack of people out on the roads, the closing of gathering places and more is helping to curve criminal activity.
Although that is a positive, Elmore said he is concerned for those stuck at home as well as those who struggle with drug addiction.
"We know that drugs are still being bought, sold, and used. We encourage those struggling with addiction to use their sponsors, follow their steps, continue with sobriety, and seek help," he said. "One major fear is an increase of overdose deaths that may go undetected."
Elmore also said his office is concerned for the victims who may be caught in abusive living conditions. The worst thing would be for those victims to remain silent, according to Elmore. He said services are still available and they should call the police to get help.
"Our law enforcement team and others are still here to serve you. Please do not suffer in silence," he said.
Elmore also said law enforcement is receiving calls from concerned citizens reporting on individuals and businesses who they believe are in violation of the order. Not all of these need to be reported to police. Consider talking politely to the person or business and remember, we are all adjusting to a unique situation, Elmore said. During this time, Elmore said people need to work together as families, friends, and neighbors.
"The order is to stay home except if necessary, even for those with an exception. Be safe. Be smart," he said. "Police officers are still on duty doing all they can to protect and serve. The more we work together, the better we can all get through this."