At least two sheriffs in Arizona said they are not defying the governor's lockdown order to deal with the coronavirus but stressed they will not arrest or issue fines to citizens if they do not follow the stay-at-home rules, reported the Arizona Republic.
They will speak with citizens who violate the order, they said, but they are not going to stop people from making a living or become the "social distancing police."
Last week, Gov. Doug Ducey (R) extended his stay-at-home order to May 15. "[I]n response to a question about bars and restaurants that might re-open in defiance of his order," the governor "mentioned a jail term, a fine and the possible loss of a liquor license," reported The Republic.
“My conscience will not allow me to arrest someone who is trying to make a living,” said Mohave County Sheriff Doug Schuster. “I don’t believe it is a crime to try and make a living.”
"I will not turn otherwise law abiding citizens into criminals who are simply trying to stay afloat and put food on the table," he said in a statement. "It is easier for those in government who continue to receive paychecks, to recommend staying the course. Unfortunately, this is not an option for so many who are financially struggling on a daily basis."
"I am not trying to thwart the Governor’s Executive Orders and I understand that he is in a very precarious position," said Schuster. "It is clear to me that he is greatly concerned for the well-being of the state and is doing what he determines is best."
Schuster continued, "I cannot in good conscience, and will not control the legal free movement of others based on directives that I believe are in conflict with the Constitution. Law enforcement should not become the social distancing police."
"Therefore, I will not issue citations or make arrests in reference to the guidelines stipulated in the Stay at Home Order," he said.
Pinal County Sheriff Mark Lamb made clear that he, like Schuster, would speak with citizens who violate the governor's order but he would not arrest them or issue them a citation, reported The Republic.
"Lamb said it had already been the unstated policy of the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office to not arrest anybody for violating the order," said The Republic. "The preference, he said, was to talk to people about compliance, not jail them. ... Lamb said he thought the governor had no right to deprive people of their livelihood or pursuit of happiness."