Virginia officers not looking to enforce governor’s new stay-at-home order

Posted at 9:45 AM, Dec 11, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-11 09:45:48-05

RICHMOND, Va. -- Crime Insider Jon Burkett spoke with several top cops in different localities Thursday night and they all said the same thing: the governor's mandate about mask wearing, even in private, and an unenforced curfew is not something police on patrol will be looking for, nor can they legally enforce.

With Governor Northam’s announcement many had questions: does this mean you'll be stopped by police at 12:01? Will police patrol bars and restaurants looking for over capacity?

The short answer is no.

"If you read the order, there are a number of exemptions and no law enforcement officer will know if those exemptions were violated before the stop,” Miles Turner with Law Enforcement Consulting, LLC said. “So there's really no way we can."

Related: Northam announces curfew, limit on social gatherings

Turner continued, "I understand what the state government is trying to do, but it's coming across as trying to legislate common sense and it's very difficult for law enforcement to enforce, even if they wanted to."

Turner also said state agencies like the ABC Board, the state health department and in some extreme cases, Virginia State Police would be called on to enforce violations in restaurants and bars.

"We do have funding to bring on personnel to help with enforcement on the health district side, so that's for restaurants and bars," said Turner.

Health department officials point out that even though Virginia is on the cusp of vaccine delivery, now is the time to double down on taking measures to control the spread as much as we can, so hospitals avoid over-capacity issues.