Fresno · Visalia/Tulare

No thanks: Valley law enforcement shrugs off Newsom’s mask mandate

The Valley’s law enforcement chiefs have a largely unified position when it comes to Gov. Gavin Newsom’s Thursday order mandating the use of masks in public: we’ve got bigger fish to fry.

Fresno and Tulare County Sheriffs, along with the Visalia and Tulare Police Departments, have all issued public statements announcing they would not actively enforce Newsom’s executive order.

“The Fresno County Sheriff’s Office will not take enforcement actions against those who are not complying with face mask guidelines,” Fresno County Sheriff Margaret Mims said in a statement. “Our agency does not have the resources to direct toward this type of enforcement.”

Tulare County Sheriff Mike Boudreaux echoed Mims’ sentiments about resources.

“I encourage our communities to take all precautionary measures mandated by the Governor’s office to prevent the spread of Covid-19,” Boudreaux told the Visalia Times-Delta. “However, our enforcement efforts will only include encouraging compliance.”

Visalia and Tulare Police will similarly not enforce Newsom’s mandates – in accordance with prior directives from the Visalia City Council at the onset of the coronavirus outbreak – but officers will follow face mask guidelines while engaging the public.

Kings County Sheriff David Robinson told The Sun on Monday morning that his agency would follow the suit of its neighbors and decline enforcement of the mask requirement.

This story will be updated.

Photo: ABC10 screengrab

Staff reports from The San Joaquin Valley Sun staff.