Washington County Sheriff issues statement on mask enforcement

Author: | Posted in Washington County 10 Comments

July 31, 2020 – Washington Co., WI – From the Office of the Sheriff:

Fellow citizens,

Today, Governor Evers issued Executive Order #82 declaring a state of emergency under emergency management statues. Emergency order #1 was subsequently issued requiring face coverings in certain situations.

I encourage everyone to make their own medical choices based upon what you believe is best for you and your family, but also carefully balance the sensitivity of others. Wearing a mask can make others feel more comfortable around you, and potentially reduce the spread of COVID-19. I encourage all individuals to be sensitive to one another and wear a mask where they deem appropriate.

Prior to the effective date of the order, individual business owners have the freedom to require masks of anyone that patronize that business. Consumers also have the option to shop elsewhere.

Washington County Executive Josh Schoemann may have expressed it best when he said, “Wear a mask out of love for your neighbor.” I could not agree more. This mandate is an overreach of government that is contrary to the oath of office I made to each and every one of you. There are at least 20 exemptions to wearing masks and I am not prepared to have deputies detain law abiding citizens in an effort to determine if citizens fit into one of the subjective exemptions.

Masks are not a police matter unless concealing your identity to commit a crime. The Washington County Sheriff’s Office handles approximately 35K-40K calls for service annually. I believe citizens have the expectation that your sheriff’s office should expend resources providing a safe and secure community by investigating real criminal acts.

I am not able to speak on behalf of other municipal police agencies in Washington County, but your sheriff’s office will not be enforcing a governmental mandate of what you wear.

Sheriff Schulteis

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