Indiana Sheriff’s Office Will Not Enforce Governor’s Mask Order: We Will Enforce the Law ‘As Guided by the Constitution’

RYAN M. KELLY/AFP via Getty Images
RYAN M. KELLY/AFP via Getty Images

The Johnson County Indiana Sheriff’s Office announced on Thursday that it will not be enforcing the governor’s mask order, informing residents that they will only “continue to enforce the law as guided by the Constitution of the United States.”

“Governor Holcomb has enacted an executive order to mandate mask wearing in public places beginning Monday, July 27, 2020. As your elected Sheriff, I want to address this executive order and my stance on it,” Sheriff Duane E. Burgess wrote in a statement shared to the sheriff’s office Facebook page on Thursday:

The Johnson County Sheriff’s Office will NOT be enforcing the executive order. We will continue to enforce the law as guided by the Constitution of the United States, the Constitution of the State of Indiana, and those laws which are put into place by our elected legislators, as we are sworn to do.

Burgess asked residents to refrain from contacting the sheriff’s office for violations of the governor’s executive order on masks, encouraging them to contact the Indiana State Department of Health “with any concerns or complaints” instead.

“If a disturbance or other issue were to develop, deputies would respond as always; however, we will not respond solely for allegations of a violation of the executive order,” he said.

“Please remember that any business or organization may refuse service to any individual who refuses to wear a mask. Failure to leave the business or organization when asked could be treated as Criminal Trespass, with legal ramifications,” his statement continued, encouraging everyone to “be respectful and tactful when addressing another person about their use of a mask”:

Attention Johnson County Residents

Governor Holcomb has enacted an executive order to mandate mask wearing in public…

Posted by Johnson County Indiana Sheriff’s Office on Thursday, July 23, 2020

Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb (R) announced the statewide mask mandate this week, which will require all Hoosiers eight-years-old and up to wear a face-covering in certain indoor and outdoor public settings. A violation of the order will be considered a Class B misdemeanor, although the governor stated that “the mask police will not be patrolling Hoosier streets.”

A Class B misdemeanor in Indiana can result in up to $1,000 fines and 180 days in jail.

The Hoosier State has reported 59,602 confirmed cases of the Chinese coronavirus and 2,683 related deaths.

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