State not taking complaints of 'stay at home' order violations

Published: Mar. 25, 2020 at 7:09 PM EDT
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The State of Michigan Attorney General's office won't be taking complaints about people violating the "stay at home" order in Michigan.

On Wednesday, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel said complaints should go to local police.

But people should not expect police to arrest people on the spot.

Violating Gov. Whitmer's "stay at home" executive order can land violators in jail and give them a $500 fine.

Police, however, said they would rather educate residents on it than punish them over it.

"The order is really simple: Stay home, stay safe, and save lives," said Daryl Green, Lansing police chief. "We're not going to violate anyone's basic constitutional rights."

Officers said arresting violators will not be their intent even though they can.

"We're making contact when we have to," Green said.

They don't even want to pull you over.

"We have no plans as of right now to make traffic stops on vehicles to see if people are adhering to the order," said Lt. Brian Oleksyk of the Michigan State Police. "We're not asking people specifically about their movements during a routine traffic stop."

"When those questions are asked, it's a matter of routine interaction with the public, and it has nothing to do with the order or the virus," he said.

But if police think you're not where you should be, a report would be sent to the county prosecutor's office, which would be sent to the attorney general's office, said Greg Harris, captain of the Ingham County Sheriff's Office.

There's a chance anyone who is out could be given a 90-day misdemeanor.

But police would rather treat the foreseeable future as a learning experience than a crackdown.

"We're educating and really just asking the public to maintain social distances and practice safe hygiene," Harris said.

As of Wednesday morning, there haven't been any violations reported of the executive order, according to Green.

Police are asking people not to call 911 to report a violation of the "stay at home" order. Police ask that 911 be reserved for emergencies.

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