- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 7, 2020

A southwest Ohio county’s sheriff says that, despite state orders on mandatory public masking, his force will not become the “mask police.”

Butler County Sheriff Richard Jones said in an interview with Cincinnati’s WXIX-TV Fox-19 that the department does not want to get 911 calls about unmasked people and that the deputies themselves won’t be pressuring people either.

“I’m am not going to be the mask police. I’m not going to enforce mask policy to where my deputies stop people and say, ‘Put your mask on.’ That’s not going to be the case. It’s out of control and if people want to wear a mask then they should be able to wear a mask and if not they shouldn’t,” Sheriff Jones said.

On Tuesday, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine ordered that, in Butler and Hamilton counties, masks will be required at any indoor location except private homes.
Sheriff Jones said that enforcement of that order is in the hands of the health department.

“Let the health department make all these rules and let them enforce these. They can get a little yellow light on their car and ride around in it and give people tickets. If that’s what they wanna do, fine. They’ll need the police in the end because people [are] getting angry,” he said.

The sheriff added that his department, which covers the county immediately north of Cincinnati’s Hamilton County, is too busy fighting a spike in real crime and trying to do so with fewer people and resources.

“We have a tense time going on right now and being made to do something, and these masks inside, it changes every day and I assume that it will change within the hour. But my main thrust is, ‘we’re not going to enforce this edict from the governor on wearing masks, period,’” Sheriff Jones said.

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