Searcy Police Chief: Department will enforce Gov. Hutchinson’s mask mandate

Searcy Police Chief: Department will enforce Gov. Hutchinson’s mask mandate
Searcy's police chief told KARK Tuesday that Gov. Hutchinson's mask mandate will be enforced by his department. (Source: KARK)

SEARCY, Ark. (KAIT/KARK) -After Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced the mask mandate last week, several law enforcement agencies around the state responded to the mandate.

Despite some saying they won’t enforce it, one White County town’s police chief told NBC affiliate KARK Tuesday that they will enforce the mandate.

Searcy Police Chief Steve Hernandez said he expects the phone lines to light up with calls, but said his department will show respect to the governor.

“We are respecting the Governor, we’re respecting his position on what he can and can’t do,” Hernandez said.

“We were anticipating being overwhelmed. We didn’t want to have an officer basically waste time and respond to every single mask call that we anticipate that we’re going to get.”

Hernandez said his department received calls immediately following the governor’s announcement but said those calls are now few and far between.

He attributes that to those now following the mandate.

Searcy police will have a supervisor on-hand to determine whether or not each call is valid.

“Somebody walking down the street not wearing a mask, that doesn’t fall under his mandate,” Hernandez said.

However, if it falls under the mandate, an officer will respond. The only exception is if the call comes from a business.

“That’s automatic sending an officer out,” Hernandez added.

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