Craighead County Sheriff discusses mask mandate locally, statewide

Craighead County Sheriff discusses mask mandate locally, statewide

JONESBORO, Ark. (KAIT) - Many sheriffs across Northeast Arkansas used social media to address their stance on the governor’s executive order requiring face masks; Craighead County joined the list Monday.

Craighead County’s Sheriff’s Department released the following statement:

The Craighead County Sheriff’s Office will continue to encourage the use of mask for our citizens due to public health...

Posted by Craighead County Sheriff's Department on Monday, July 20, 2020

Sheriff Marty Boyd says they will encourage the use of face masks but say they will not respond to public complaints, only private establishments complaints.

He says the mandate’s list of exemptions eliminates many people from wearing a mask and the department can’t respond to every situation.

“One is the manpower issue. Two is someone cannot be arrested, cannot be detained under this as a violation of the order,” he says. “It’s basically a verbal or written warning.”

Every department should create their own stance on this, he says.

“Each jurisdiction, each sheriff is their own entity that creates policies and procedures the way they feel it should be,” he says. “The reason I waited was because under the governor’s executive order, I didn’t see a need at the time for me to respond on how to follow that executive order.”

Sheriff Boyd says if a patron does not comply with a business’s policies on masks and refuses to leave, the department will charge criminal trespassing.

In addition to his position as the Craighead County sheriff, Boyd also serves as secretary on the Arkansas Sheriffs Association.

In one month, he will advance to vice president. He says the association has not discussed the mandate at this point.

He says at no point does the ASA plan to make a policy for all sheriffs to follow.

“Each individual sheriff, 75 of us, are elected in our own counties,” he says. “We’re elected with the process that we have the duties to make those policies, what is right for our citizens, and what is wrong for our citizens.”

Sheriff Boyd says each deputy takes an oath and swears into their department.

In addition, he says each deputy must uphold their department’s policies and procedures.

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