PSA from Eddy County Sheriffs Office- 3/27/2020

“1. The Eddy County Sheriff’s Office is not telling businesses when they can open and when they can’t. We have no authority to do that. Even with the Governor’s announcements. State statutes are very clear in this regard. NMSP and Department of Health personnel have that authority by law. We do not.

2. The Eddy County Sheriff’s Office is not patrolling parks or anywhere else looking for people in groups of 5 or more. Once again, state law does not give us the authority to enforce the Governor’s emergency orders.

3. You do not need letters from your employer or anyone else stating that you are “essential” in order to move about the country freely. NO ONE has any authority to randomly stop citizens and demand to see papers or ask where they are going unless you are entering or in a secure area or private property. That would be a violation of your civil rights.

4. I have been told that the Department of Public Safety is telling people they can call the sheriff’s office or local police to report violations of the emergency orders from the Governor. Once again, I have to reiterate that we have no authority to enforce these orders. If we did enforce these we would open ourselves and the county up to tremendous liability and the lawsuit would be paid out from our tax dollars. We try not to have to do that.

I am not being sarcastic, flippant, or disregarding any safety and/or health recommendations or precautions. This is for your information so that you are up to date on what we can do and what we can’t.

Please be safe, be clean, and be good to one another.

Sheriff Mark Cage”

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