Sheriffs around the country are pushing back against “draconian mask laws” being imposed by local and state governments. From Texas to Ohio, as well as several other states, law enforcement officers are speaking out about the difficulty of enforcing such orders and questioning the legality of the decrees altogether. Following Texas Governor Greg Abbott’s executive order requiring face masks to be worn when “in public,” several police officials announced they will not enforce the mandate. Sheriffs in Houston, Gregg, Montgomery, Panola, Upshur, Gillespie, Kerr, Nacogdoches and Denton counties have all made public statements on the matter. Denton County Sheriff Tracy Murphree explained his decision on Facebook, writing, “The order is not a law, there is no requirement that any police officer enforce it, and it’s unenforceable. We can’t spend our time running from place to place for calls about mask we can really do nothing about.” Houston Police Officers’ Union President Joe Gamaldi also shared his opinion, writing on Twitter, “While we in law enforcement are desperately trying to build trust w/our community and are spread incredibly thin with the huge rise in violent crime, we are now expexcted to enforce yet another draconian mask law...” In Ohio, Butler County Police Sheriff Richard K. Jones told CNN on Wednesday, “I’m not going to be the mask police,” when asked about the state’s mandatory face mask order. He added, “I’m telling people don’t call 911. All the police have been decimated as far as being laid off, having budgets cut and I am not going to enforce the mask wearing.”
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