Medford police address enforcement of ‘freeze’ order

MEDFORD, Ore. — A day after Oregon Governor Kate Brown officially ordered a statewide “freeze” due to a surge in COVID-19 cases, the Medford Police Department addressed how they plan on dealing with enforcing the rules.

MPD released the following statement Wednesday morning:

On November 17, Governor Kate Brown issued an Executive Order on the Temporary Freeze.

In collaboration with Oregon State Police, the Oregon State Sheriffs’ Association, and Oregon Association Chiefs of Police, Medford Police is asking all Medford citizens to adhere to the Governor’s Executive Order to help stop the rapid spread of COVID-19.

In unison with our state and local law enforcement partners, when responding to complaints of violation of the Executive Order our officers will continue to follow an education first approach. Officers will only take enforcement action (criminal citations) as a last resort.

“Medford Police Officers will be directed, where appropriate, to not take immediate enforcement action. Law Enforcement always has the option of gathering relevant information, completing the investigation into the alleged violation of the order, completing a police report, and referring the case to the District Attorney’s office for charging considerations at a later time.” –Scott Clauson, Chief of Police

COVID-19 cases are surging in Jackson County. The sharp increase in cases have been felt in our local hospitals, which are seeing a record number of COVID-19 hospitalizations. We must make it a priority to take preventative actions such as wearing a mask, staying home if you’re sick, and limiting social gatherings as much as possible.

We recognize the inconvenience of the pandemic and the impacts the restrictions have had on all of us. Please join us in following the Two-Week Freeze to make our communities a safer and healthy place.

MPD’s “education first” approach echoes the sentiments of both the Oregon State Sheriff’s Association and Oregon State Police.

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