Los Angeles County Sheriff: Arrests not a priority for curfew violations

Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva shared some details on how his deputies will handle the impending curfew orders for nonessential businesses.

The county's curfew order kicks in Friday, November 20 at 10 p.m. while a statewide curfew starts the next night at 10 p.m. In Los Angeles County, the curfew orders all nonessential retail establishments, restaurants, bars, wineries and breweries to close from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. The statewide curfew, which applies to California counties in the restrictive Purple Tier, prohibits nonessential work, movement and gatherings from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. daily. 

All counties in FOX 11's viewing area are in the Purple Tier.

Sheriff Villanueva told FOX 11's Bill Melugin that his focus will primarily be on nonessential businesses violating the order.

"If we get a complaint, we'll investigate, we'll respond to the location, we'll contact the owner and ask them to comply," Sheriff Villanueva told Melugin. "If they don't, we have the option of doing a citation, we can also prepare a criminal report for violating a health order and we'll turn it over to the Department of Public Health and let them decide what to do with it."

Arrests will not be a priority for LASD, Melugin reports after speaking with Sheriff Villanueva.

As for those frustrated with yet another round of COVID-19 restrictions, Sheriff Villanueva shared the following message:

"If you feel frustrated, try being in a hospital ICU or a ventilator, unable to breathe. You can trade places with them and talk about their frustration," he said.

In addition to the impending curfew, Los Angeles County health officials may impost another Safer-at-Home by next week. If issued, the order is reported to go into effect as early as Sunday. 

RECOMMENDED: LA County Safer-at-Home order likely to be issued as early as Sunday as COVID cases rise


Over in Orange County, Sheriff Don Barnes is taking a bit of a different stance, saying his department will take an educational approach.

"Due to the need to have deputies available for emergency calls, deputies will not be responding to request for face-coverings or social gatherings-only enforcement," Sheriff Barnes added.

Riverside County Sheriff Chad Bianco appears to follow a similar approach to Orange County. 

"To ensure constitutional rights are not violated and to limit potential negative interactions and exposure to our deputies, we will not be responding to calls for service based solely on noncompliance with the new order or social distancing and mask guidelines," Sheriff Bianco said.

The San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department told Melugin they are currently reviewing Governor Gavin Newsom's order and will make a decision on how to enforce it on Friday. The Ventura County Sheriff's Department did not respond to FOX 11's request for comment.

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