BY NINO AMIRFAR
Turlock Chief of Police
These are very trying and unique times as we all are doing our best to ensure our health and welfare against COVID-19. I continue to receive questions regarding the Governor’s Orders along with the Stanislaus County Public Health Official Orders. As you are all aware, these orders have recently changed and are expected to continue to evolve in the coming weeks. We understand that these changes lead to questions and confusion that we hope to clarify with this communication and continued education.
We, as your local law enforcement, have always strived to maintain order utilizing the community policing models. We conduct a majority of our enforcements by utilizing public messaging and information directed towards education resulting in compliance. Please do not confuse this to mean we are lenient to criminal activity. All criminal activity is taken very seriously. Those crimes which are serious or threaten life and property, are handled quickly and decisively.
However, those crimes that are on the lower end of the spectrum are usually handled through simple education and awareness which is usually sufficient to gain compliance. We have had continued success gaining compliance and cooperation from the vast majority of our law-abiding community, which has resulted in trust in your police department.
Having said this, the Orders issued from our Governor and County Public Health Department are valid and enforceable.
Again, we conduct enforcement of these orders when we receive a complaint. Our first action is to educate, by either verbally advising individuals or mass education, by means of social media or press releases.
If these types of educational enforcements are still not sufficient to deter the unwanted behavior and we continue to receive complaints, we will provide direct correspondence in the form of a letter advising of the unwanted behavior and directing an immediate stop to it, or person(s) may face additional consequences.
If this still is insufficient to gain compliance, we will make a personal visit to give direction to stop the illegal behavior and answer any questions.
If there is still non-compliance (this is extremely rare), we would then move into the administrative citation process. This process begins with the issuance of the first Administrative Citation which is $250. The second offense will be $500 and the third will be $1,000 and each offense, thereafter, will be an additional $1,000. As you can see, these incidents will be complaint driven and after numerous educational enforcement attempts, the issuance of an administrative citation will occur. The administrative citation process is not a criminal process at this time.
As your Chief, I have taken an oath to protect and serve our community, you, and to uphold the laws of our country, state and city. I do not have the luxury of picking and choosing what laws or orders I will or will not enforce. I expect our community (you) to work together and obey the laws. Thank you - Chief Amirfar.