City Attorney says Governor’s order covers it
At Tuesday’s virtual City Council Meeting the item to issue an ordinance authorizing the Monroe Police Department to enforce the Mayor’s COVID-19 emergency order that prohibits gatherings of people in excess of 10 was removed from the agenda. City Administrator Logan Propes said it would be considered at next week’s meeting after Governor Brian Kemp gives his next update.
City Attorney Paul Rosenthal clarified that the mandate that was given by the Governor actually makes it clear that local law enforcement has the authority to impose mandates as well as the legal right to enforce it. Anyone breaking it can be charged with a misdemeanor. He said the governor’s shelter in place mandate obviates the need to have a separate ordinance.
In his update, Police Chief R.V. Watts said they are still encountering instances where large groups are gathered, but they are dispersing when law enforcement arrives on the scene. He said he has more sworn officers in vehicles on the roads at the moment in an attempt to prevent too much interpersonal contact on the streets. He reiterated that the intent was not to arrest but rather to educate.
“We are seeing more disputes and loud music complaints,” RV said. This is evidenced in the latest police reports. “All the officers are wearing PPE (personal protection equipment) – masks, gloves and eye protection and they need to re-sanitize when they get back in the vehicles,” Watts said.
Assistant City Administrator Chris Bailey said he is hoping to keep the parks in the city open for the moment for people to go and exercise if they need to get out of the house, “as long as they keep the distances and they appear to be respecting that at the moment. There’s not huge traffic there.”
Bailey said they can revisit that if it changes.