Jim Owczarski and Sophie Carson, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
|Racine County Sheriff Christopher Schmaling (Photo: Colin Boyle/Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)|
Racine County Sheriff Christopher Schmaling issued a statement Friday saying his department would not enforce Gov. Tony Evers' safer-at-home order and said the "overreaching measures" would have dire consequences.
Evers on Thursday extended the safer-at-home order until May 26 in an effort to continue to slow the spread of the coronavirus throughout the state. The decision was met with opposition from Republican leadership in the state Legislature.
"The overreaching measures taken by State government will have dire lifetime consequences for businesses, homeowners, and families," Schmaling's statement reads.
"I took an oath to uphold the constitutional rights of our citizens and I can not in good faith participate in the destruction of Racine County businesses or interfere in the freedoms granted to all of us by our Constitution," he continued.
The city of Racine on Friday reported it reached a new peak in daily cases, with 11 new cases and one death on Thursday.
The city had 77 confirmed cases and three deaths, and the county reported 163 cases and eight total deaths — including two new deaths Friday.
Nearby Milwaukee County reported more than 2,000 cases and 111 deaths from the virus.
Schmaling said his department “will continue to concentrate our resources and efforts at keeping our roads safe and protecting our citizens from criminal activity” but will leave the investigating and enforcement of public health orders to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services.
Schmaling said he believes Racine County businesses can individually make the “appropriate adjustments in the way they operate” to ensure the safety of workers and patrons.
“I understand the seriousness of the current health situation and I urge all Racine County citizens to continue to be responsible and to follow the social distancing, mask and hygiene recommendations of the CDC and the Wisconsin DHS,” he said.