One of the under-reported aspects of some state and local coronavirus orders is how they will be enforced. More often than not, the responsibility falls to local law enforcement. In some California counties, police and sheriffs are saying they have better things to do with their scarce time and resources:

“On Nov. 19 the California Department of Public Health issued a curfew order for the state of California. The El Dorado County Sheriff’s Office is aware and will not be enforcing this curfew order,” the office said in a statement.

Fresno County Sheriff’s Office followed suit. “We’re not gonna make criminals of normally law-abiding citizens,” Sheriff Margaret Mims said at a press conference yesterday. “I haven’t seen any data for instance that shows that between the hours of 10 p.m. and 5 a.m., that things happen that cause a big spread of COVID.”

Neither Merced County nor Sacramento County sheriffs plan to enforce the order.

More departments are coming to similar conclusions – they prefer to strongly encourage people act responsibly and exercise caution, rather than make them criminals. As for local officials and their embrace of curfews, the mayor of Pueblo, Colorado said  he was “desperate to try anything at this point.”