Police not pulling people over to enforce stay-at-home order

By Amber McIver-Traywick

The Surveyor

Police in Colorado will not be pulling people over or organizing checkpoints to enforce the stay-at-home order issued by Governor Jared Polis that took effect Thursday, March 26, and will continue until April 17. Police Departments across the state, the Larimer County Sheriffs Office and the Colorado State Patrol said their goal is to educate the public first with the goal of saving lives.

In a video statement, Colonel Matthew Packard, Chief of the Colorado State Patrol said, “We care about Coloradans and know this pandemic is having a major impact on everyone, by obeying the order and staying home you are helping to save the lives of friends, family members and everyone…we are asking for voluntary compliance with this order and for each person to do their part in flattening the curve,” he continued by saying  “Troopers have the legal authority to enforce this order as necessary however our ultimate goal is to educate the public not to punish them.”

The maximum fine if you are found to be violating the order is up to $1,000 as well as up to a year in jail.

Larimer County Sheriffs Office Berthoud Squad’s Sergeant Jim Anderson said he felt most of the people in Berthoud have been following the order but that, “We are seeing a rise in disturbances possibly due to the stress and fear of the epidemic and also being cooped up.”

Reasons that are permitted for leaving home include going to get groceries or medicines, supplies for your pets or other household members, exercising outside and going to work if you are employed by an essential business or organization, among other things. Community members are encouraged to read through the entire older to make sure they understand the full scope and permitted exemptions.

There have been reports out of Aurora, Greeley and Erie of individuals being pulled over or made to go through a fake check-point and questioned about violating the stay-at-home order. Larimer County Sheriffs Office Public Information Officer David Moore said, “We want the community to know that deputies are not stopping cars to see if they are violating the stay-at-home order,” and that, “If someone suspects they are being pulled over by someone other than a police officer, they should call 911 and drive toward the closest law enforcement agency. You should slow down and turn on your hazard lights so if it is a real police officer they know you are not trying to flee. Dispatchers will be able to confirm whether the stop is legitimate or not. If it is, the driver should pull over as normal. If not, they should follow the instructions of the dispatcher as police officers/deputies are being dispatched to help.”

Colonel Packard reiterated that you are still able to travel through Colorado if necessary and they have not closed the borders to the state but that travel anywhere must meet the criteria outlined in the stay-at-home order.

Also, CSP has ordered a statewide accident alert. This alert means that if you are in areas covered by the CSP and you’re involved in a crash where there are no injuries, no drugs or alcohol involved and everyone has insurance you are to file an online report, troopers are still responding to crashes and calls for service that are not covered under the statewide accident alert. To report an accident visit colorado.gov/pacific/csp/crash-information.

Police will continue to enforce traffic and criminal violations as necessary throughout the stay-at-home order and any subsequent steps taken by state and local officials.

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