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by Trevor MontgomeryNovember 24, 2020

SHASTA COUNTY, Calif. — In response to the latest COVID-19 public health crisis related mandates announced by California Governor Gavin Newsom last week, both Shasta County Sheriff Eric Magrini and City of Redding Police Chief Bill Schueller have announced that their departments – the two largest law enforcement agencies based within Shasta County – will not be enforcing any of the health or emergency orders related to curfews, stay at home orders, or occupancy limitations.

Those orders include a 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew and “Limited Stay at Home Order”, as well as heavy restrictions on upcoming Thanksgiving and other social gatherings – even those happening inside private residences.

Set to begin last Saturday, Nov. 21, and last for one month, Gov. Newsom’s most recent mandates were for all California counties in the purple tier and would affect residents in 41 of the state’s 58 counties – more than 94 percent of the state’s population.

“I would like to take this opportunity to clarify the position of the Shasta County Sheriff’s Office regarding both existing and potential impending health orders,” Sheriff Magrini said in a Nov. 20 social media release.

“The Shasta County Sheriff’s Office will not be enforcing the compliance of any health or emergency orders related to curfews, stay at home orders, Thanksgiving or other social gatherings, inside or outside the home, maximum occupancy, or mask mandates within the private or business communities,” the Sheriff continued.

“The Sheriff’s Office will continue to appropriately respond to incidents involving criminal activity or events, which pose a potential impact to public or personal safety within our communities,” Magrini continued; while asking Shasta County residents to “be responsible and courteous to one another and have a happy Thanksgiving Holiday.”

On the same day, Redding PD Chief Schueller announced a similar stance while citing Constitutional and other concerns; writing in a social media post from his department, “The Redding Police Department does not have adequate resources to proactively go to homes and businesses to determine if they are in violation of this curfew order, nor can we respond to calls for service from the public requesting enforcement of this order.”

“I have concerns about the spread of Covid-19 in our community and encourage everyone to follow public health guidelines, but this is a public health issue and not a criminal one,” Schueller went on to say; adding, “A curfew order, such as the one issued, may have significant Constitutional implications and enforcement would only result in negative outcomes with the community we are here to serve.”

While acknowledging that the County “continues to see a surge in cases and hospitalizations …and… the majority of our positive cases are from large social gatherings,” Schueller said that those wishing to can still report curfew violations to the County’s dispatch center, Shascom911, and said that all reports will be referred to Shasta County Public Health.

In the wake of the two announcements, several recent SCNS polls show residents throughout Shasta County overwhelmingly agree with Sheriff Magrini and Chief Schueller’s decisions and announcements, and largely disagree with the State’s ongoing restrictions. However, a large majority also responded that individuals should follow the State’s mandates and guidelines, regardless of whether or not local law enforcement agencies were going to enforce them.

“I totally agree with their decisions,” Anderson resident Annette Ramsey said in response to one recent SCNS poll regarding the issue. “The citizens should still have our freedom to choose if and when we want to go out.”

“It is our right, we know the risks and know how to protect ourselves,” said Ramsey.

“Absolutely agree,” Shelly Coullahan responded; adding, “We are not under the rule of Nazi Germany.”

“Yes, I totally agree,” Betty Wilson said of the recent decision; writing, “Gov. Newsom does not abide by his own rules and neither do his friends and business associates. Why should we?”

Some polled, however, showed support for the Governor’s mandates and restrictions, such as Anderson resident Heather Getzlaff, who strongly disagreed with the Sheriff’s and Chief’s recent announcements.

“This is why there are so many cases blowing this place up, (because) no one wants to enforce anything here!” Getzlaff angrily wrote to LENN.

Saying she and her children have underlying health conditions, Getzlaff explained, “I would love to go back to my job (because) I’m at my wits end financially, but with all the restaurants here locally not following the mandates and not doing anything at all as far as wearing masks, sanitizing anything or distancing customers … people are running around this place not giving 2 shits about anyone around them.”

“We have COVID cases skyrocketing and now the hospitals are starting to fill up,” Getzlaff continued.

Another to “very strongly disagree” with the recent announcements was Burney resident, Samantha Reece.

“Their mission is ‘To Protect and Serve’. Not ignore governor’s orders that are in place to protect EVERYONE,” Reece wrote to LENN.

“Look at the numbers,” Reece continued. “Exponential cases, just as we were warned there would be. Hospitals are filling up. Soon they will be overwhelmed, all because of arrogance and ignorance.”

While many recent poll respondents to news partner SCNS were strongly for or against the issues at hand, others, such as Val Rusyn, were on the fence and acknowledged valid arguing points for both sides of the debate.

“With all the cases we have and 43 deaths so far we need to do something. If people can’t agree to wear a mask we have no place left to go but up in cases,” Rusyn explained while adding, “That being said, I don’t see how Sheriff Magrini can enforce it.”

“We all need to be on the same page about this or more will be dying,” added Rusyn.

About The Author
Trevor Montgomery
Trevor Montgomery writes for several news organizations, including Riverside County based newspapers, Valley News, The Valley Chronicle and Anza Valley Outlook, as well as Bonsall/Fallbrook Village News in San Diego County and The Mountain Echo in Shasta County. Trevor spent 10 years in the U.S. Army as an Orthopedic Specialist before joining the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department in 1998. Trevor’s assignments included Corrections, Patrol, DUI Enforcement, Boat and Personal Watercraft based Lake Patrol, Off-Road Vehicle Enforcement, Problem Oriented Policing Team and Personnel/Background Investigations. He finished his career while working as a Sex Crimes and Child Abuse Investigator and was a court-designated expert in child abuse and child sex-related crimes.
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