Douglas County sheriff won’t enforce mask mandate

ROSEBURG, Ore. – With one day left until outdoor masks are again required, the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office says they will not enforce any of the state’s COVID-19 mandates.

Sheriff John Hamlin says he believes it’s up to the individual to educate themselves and make decisions about their own health.

In the letter, he says it’s in the best interest of all counties in Oregon to retain local control over these kinds of decisions.

This comes as the COVID-19 response team requested to temporarily increase the morgue space in Douglas County to deal with the spike in deaths.

Sheriff Hamlin stated the following:

August 25, 2021

A message from Douglas County Sheriff John Hanlin:

As you all know there has been a recent surge in Covid-19 illness and hospitalizations here locally, and across the State of Oregon. As a result, Governor Kate Brown announced her new statewide mask requirement which goes into effect Friday, August 27th, regardless of vaccination status. Due to these circumstances I have received numerous inquiries from the media and the public regarding enforcement of the Governor’s mask requirements.

The Douglas County Sheriff’s Office will NOT be enforcing Governor Brown’s mandates period. It is up to each of us as individuals to stay informed and make our own responsible decisions about our health. The citizens of Douglas County can choose to wear a mask or choose not to wear a mask. We can choose to get vaccinated or choose not to get vaccinated. And we can choose to stay home or we can choose to travel about freely. These are choices we as informed individuals shall make ourselves, NOT have made for us by the government.

As Sheriff, it is my responsibility to provide for the peace and safety of those in Douglas County. I take that duty seriously. I believe it is in the best interest of Douglas County, and all Oregon counties, to retain local control over decisions affecting the public health and safety and to protect the individual choices of those we represent.

Personally, I am tired of Governor Brown’s style of leadership that ignores the abilities of our local leadership, and her support of ideals that contradict the values most of us in rural Oregon hold dearly. The Governor’s good for one, good for all form of leadership is not working here.

Governor Brown has once again initiated what many consider to be an unconstitutional mandate by requiring our children and citizens to wear masks and by requiring COVID-19 vaccinations for state employees, healthcare workers and teaching staff. This mandate is potentially more reckless than doing nothing to stop the spread of COVID. I am aware of many state employees including police, fire & EMS service, healthcare, and education staff that intend to walk off the job if coerced into getting vaccinated.

As Sheriff of Douglas County, I took an oath to uphold the Constitution of the United States and to stand up for and defend the people of this county. I remind you, it is my duty to continue fighting for fundamental rights and personal freedoms, and to diligently support the residents of Douglas County.

My office is committed to our fundamental duty which is to serve mankind; to safeguard lives and property; to protect the innocent against deception, the weak against oppression or intimidation, and the peaceful against violence or disorder; and to respect the Constitutional rights of all men to liberty, equality and justice. With that we are committed to encouraging our community members in making well informed personal decisions to protect the health of our families and friends. Our health, safety and livelihoods are important needs for us all, but they cannot be accomplished through overreaching requirements and coercive government mandates, but rather through honest, accurate communication and compassion while respecting the different beliefs of a diverse community.

These are most challenging times. Please as always use common sense and stay safe.


John Hanlin, Sheriff

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