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Sheriffs respond to stay-at-home order
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Sheriffs respond to stay-at-home order

With the advent of Gov. Mike Parson’s stay-at-home order starting Monday, two local sheriffs weighed in on how they plan to enforce the new order. They also attempted to dispel some myths and misinformation.

With St. Francois County already adopting a similar order that started Friday, Sheriff Dan Bullock said, nothing has really changed for his department.

“It pretty well coincides with what the county has set down anyway,” he said. “We’re just discouraging people from going out with unnecessary travel. Get your necessities, stay home as much as you can.

“We are telling people, if you want to go out and do stuff, do it and keep ‘social-distancing’. We had some problems on the lakes because they wouldn’t let them gang up on the parks, so they went out in their boats and tied the boats together and had a party out in the middle of the lake.”

When answering questions about boat usage for fishing and other activities, Bullock noted that most lakes have shut down their boat ramps.

“People have been calling me about spring turkey season,” he said. “Like it is right now, everything is still good. We just want people to be sensible, be reasonable.”

Madison County Sheriff Katy McCutcheon explained a few things that her department will do differently.

“Sex offenders are going to be made to call in,” she said. “We are changing rules in the jail where we are no longer going to have visitation until this is up, because that is not essential.

“My understanding is that it goes through the health department first, I’m assuming they are going to rely on uniformed personnel to do the [enforcement].”

McCutcheon said they have already made some changes in the department’s policies.

“If it is an emergency, we will respond,” she said. “If it is something not emergent, then we will try to handle it over the phone, so as to decrease the contact with outside people.”

According to McCutcheon, the sheriff’s department will not be out patrolling specifically for any potential violators of the stay-at-home order.

“People are concerned that they think they have to stay home, then if they have to go to the grocery store, get gas or go to the bank, they're concerned they are going to get pulled over,” she said. “As far as enforcement, that’s not going to be an issue mainly during business hours. In the evening, it might become an issue after the businesses close, to wonder what people out and about are doing. If there is enforcement, after 10 p.m. there really shouldn’t be anybody out unless they’re going to or coming home from work, or they are up to trouble.”

Corporal Juston Wheetley of the MSHP said that currently it is business as usual for the patrol.

Mark Marberry is a reporter for the Farmington Press and Daily Journal. He can be reached at 573-518-3629, or at mmarberry@farmingtonpressonline.com

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