Police: We don’t have the manpower to enforce governor’s coronavirus curfew

Butler County Sheriff Richard Jones called the curfew mandate from Gov. Mike DeWine "ridiculous" and said his deputies will not enforce the curfew. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF
Butler County Sheriff Richard Jones called the curfew mandate from Gov. Mike DeWine "ridiculous" and said his deputies will not enforce the curfew. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF

BUTLER COUNTY — Two Butler County law enforcement officials said they don’t have the manpower to enforce Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine’s curfew that starts Thursday evening.

DeWine announced Tuesday that the 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew starts Thursday and runs for 21 days in hopes of curtailing the spread of COVID-19.

DeWine said those who break the curfew could face a second-degree misdemeanor charge that carries a $750 fine and 90 days in jail.

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Butler County Sheriff Richard Jones and Middletown Division of Police Chief David Birk said they don’t expect their deputies and officers to enforce the curfew.

Jones urged residents not to call the sheriff’s office if they know of someone breaking the curfew.

“We can’t respond and we are not enforcing it," said Jones, who earlier said his deputies would not enforce the governor’s mask mandate.

Jones called the curfew “ridiculous” and he expects it to lead to a confrontation between police and upset residents somewhere in the state.

“This will lead to an arrest and someone will get hurt or worse,” he said . “It will bring out the criminal in people who are not criminals.”

Jones said he knows DeWine and called him “a nice guy.” But, he said, the governor has lost touch with Ohioans and people don’t trust those in government.

“He’s on the top of the ladder and when he looks down he sees smiling faces,” Jones said. “Those on the bottom of the ladder see rear ends when they look up. People are tired and fatigued and all he has done is create more fear and anger. People are tired and they don’t want to be told what to do."

Birk said his officers will not be “actively looking for curfew violations” because there are more serious crimes in the city. He said it would be impossible for his officers to ticket those who are driving after 10 p.m. because people are still leaving or going to work.

If officers are called about a business or restaurant not adhering to the curfew, Birk said they will make the state aware of the possible violation.

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