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Sonora Police Chief Addresses COVID-19 Concerns, Enforcement Plans

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Sonora, CA — As local cases continue to spike, Sonora’s police chief says he is relying on the community more than ever to help protect each other.

Wednesday night Chief Turu VanderWiel released a communication to residents noting that as the community opens back up, creating more opportunity for transmitting the highly contagious, sometimes deadly virus, law enforcement continues to work closely with county health officials, and there is great concern about the current spread rate.

The rest of his letter reads as follows…

“I understand that everyone has their own opinion. Still, I am asking everyone to respect the state guidelines and the orders of the local Health Officer. These directives are in place to help slow the spread of this disease. Most importantly, we should be mindful of the overall welfare of our community and the health concerns of our families, friends, and neighbors.

“As a community, I believe it is all of our responsibility to do everything we can to get through this pandemic as smoothly as possible. We started off setting the standard by keeping our numbers down, and we have come too far to regress.

“Although many activities are now permitted, it doesn’t mean that they are risk-free. I encourage everyone to wear face coverings when inside publicly accessed buildings or anytime you are within close proximity to others. Avoid large gatherings, sanitize surfaces, wash your hands regularly, and practice social distancing.

“Also, to respond to recent questions regarding the enforcement of the Governor’s guidance on face coverings, I see law enforcement’s position now as I did when the original Executive Order was issued. We will do our part to educate and to encourage compliance through nontraditional enforcement methods to the extent possible, as I don’t believe this should be a criminal enforcement matter. The City of Sonora still has an ordinance in place that provides an administrative, non-criminal option for regulating compliance when needed.

“Our community’s freedom to thrive, along with the ability of schools and community organizations to return to a state of normalcy, relies heavily on us as a community to work together as a team — thank you for doing your part!”