Local police offer 1 warning before ticketing social distancing violators

Local News

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — Social distancing isn’t just a suggestion — it’s law, as part of executive orders from the Onondaga County Executive and New York State Governor.

Like when other laws are broken, tips of people violating it are called into the 911 Center.

Syracuse Police have sent officers to 166 reports of people not following the executive orders, an average about 10 per day, since March 30.

Since March 26, Onondaga County Sheriff’s deputies have responded to 148 calls, about seven per day on average.

Of all those calls, not one officer has given out a ticket or fine, the Onondaga County District Attorney tells NewsChannel 9’s Andrew Donovan.

Onondaga County Sheriff Gene Conway tells NewsChannel 9 that no call has gotten beyond that warning.

He says, “We deal on a daily basis with people who don’t follow the rules, deal with people who break the law. That’s nothing new to us. We will enforce the law, take action when either the deputy or deputy supervisor feels that it has come to a point where we’re not going to get their cooperation, where it’s beyond reckless or intentional. To this point, we found that people are willing to cooperate.”

DA Bill Fitzpatrick, Conway, Syracuse Police Chief Kenton Buckner and the village and town police chiefs all agree on the same policy: every violator gets a warning first. Then, repeat offenses result in a ticket.

That ticket comes with a Class B misdemeanor charge and $1,000 fine.

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