A county sheriff in Maine is being praised for vowing to balance public safety and a statewide stay-at-home order amid the coronavirus outbreak. A driver in Pennsylvania, meanwhile, is demonstrating what can happen when such an order is violated.
Maine’s governor, Janet Mills, issued a stay-at-home order that began April 1 and runs through April 30, and which punishes violators with a $1,000 fine and jail for failing to abide by the stringent rules.
Responding to that order, Franklin County Sheriff Scott Nichols told citizens in a statement there will be no “Police State” in the county, meaning deputies will not pull over vehicles on the roads to enforce the governor’s order.
The sheriff’s comments caught the attention of Washington Times columnist Robert Knight, who praises the sheriff for asking the public to use precaution and use common sense.
“But [Nichols] said this idea of stopping people on the road, asking them where they are going and demanding proof of where they’re going,” Knight comments, “it smacks of Nazi Germany and asking to see your papers. He will have none of that.”
Knight compared the Maine sheriff’s response with an incident in Pennsylvania, where a woman was ticketed for going for a drive which authorities said violates that state’s stay-at-home order issued by Gov. Tom Wolf.
OneNewsNow recounted in an April 7 story that a York County woman was pulled over by state police and ticketed for driving on a public street.
Providing more details of the incident, a Pennsylvania newspaper reported the citation states Anita Shaffer, 19, was “going for a drive” and therefore was ticketed $202 for breaking the Disease Control and Prevention Act of 1955.
According to Shaffer, the state troopers said she was stopped because of a broken tail light and for tinted windows, potential violations that law enforcement officers sometimes use as a reason to initiate a traffic stop. The troopers did not issue tickets for those violations, she told the newspaper, and the taillight worked properly.
Shaffer’s father told the newspaper that the ticket should be a warning to the public that law enforcement could be “looking at things in the wrong light and maybe taking things too far.”
“That’s a police state,” Knight warns, “when you can’t go where you want to go.”
Copyright American Family News. Reprinted with permission.