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'We question some restrictions’: Northern Michigan sheriffs say they won’t strictly enforce COVID-19 Executive Orders

4 county sheriffs release statement

Satellite image of Michigan
Satellite image of Michigan

MANISTEE COUNTY, Mich. – Several sheriffs in northern Michigan voiced their opposition of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s coronavirus (COVID-19) Executive Orders, saying they won’t strictly enforce them.

VIEW: A timeline of closures, event bans, stay-at-home orders

Sheriffs in Leelanau, Benzie, Manistee and Mason counties released a statement Wednesday regarding orders issued by the governor.

“While we understand her desire to protect the public, we question some restrictions that she has imposed as overstepping her executive authority. She has created a vague framework of emergency laws that only confuse Michigan citizens,” the statement read.

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As a result, authorities in those counties intend to “deal with every case as an individual situation and apply common sense in assessing the apparent violation.”

Read the full statement below:

As Sheriffs of Michigan’s 101st House district, comprised of Leelanau, Benzie, Manistee, and Mason Counties, we write today to inform the public of our respective counties of our opposition to some of Governor Whitmer’s executive orders. While we understand her desire to protect the public, we question some restrictions that she has imposed as overstepping her executive authority. She has created a vague framework of emergency laws that only confuse Michigan citizens.

As a result, we will not have strict enforcement of these orders. We will deal with every case as an individual situation and apply common sense in assessing the apparent violation.

Each of us took an oath to uphold and defend the Michigan Constitution, as well as the US Constitution, and to ensure that your God given rights are not violated. We believe that we are the last line of defense in protecting your civil liberties.

Our focus needs to be on reopening our counties and getting people back to work. We also need to be aware that this virus is deadly and that we need to continue to practice social distancing, washing of hands, wearing of masks as well as other medically recommended measures. Allowing those without paychecks back to work is imperative to the economic success and wellbeing of our community. We can do this in stages, especially those that work outside.

Together, as a community, we will overcome this pandemic, and as Americans, we will persevere and come out even stronger than before. As Sheriffs of your community we want you to know we have your back and will continue to serve the people who have entrusted us with your protection.

Leelanau County Sheriff Mike Borkovich

Benzie County Sheriff Ted Schendel

Manistee County Sheriff Ken Falk

Mason County Sheriff Kim Cole


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