Police Departments Respond to Shelter at Home Enforcement Complaints

Police say they are not stopping people just to verify if they are violating the stay at home order

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Shelter at home ordinances are in place all across North Texas. The ordinances allow for essential personnel to still go to work and essential travel like to grocery stores.

But the president and CEO of Dallas Fort Worth Hospital Council says some essential employees are being stopped and questioned by police.

"Some were stopped and they showed their hospital badge and they were like we want a letter we want you to know additional information to really verify that you are essential," President and CEO of Dallas Fort Worth Hospital Council Dr. Stephen Love said.

He said this can cause problems.

"You know we work shifts in hospitals so we didn't want people to be late and create shift problems." 

He did not name specific municipalities where this was happening.

NBC 5 reached out to several departments asking their stance on enforcing the shelter at home ordinance.

Fort Worth’s police chief addressed city council about the issue.

"Most of your regional chiefs have put out something on social media declaring we do not have roadblocks, we are not doing checkpoints to determine if people are out and about in their vehicles on essential business and if they are in compliance with the declarations," Fort Worth Police Chief Ed Kraus said.

In a statement, Denton County Sheriff's office said in part, "We aren't going to be stopping random vehicles without probable cause to see if you are in compliance, we won't be setting up any roadblocks or checks or asking for any kind of "papers".  We won't be driving up and down streets checking to see if you're staying home…"

Arlington police also said in part of a statement, "…officers shall not contact community members solely on the basis of determining whether their travel is in violation of the "stay home, work safe" restriction."

Which matched with Lewisville Police Department’s statement that said, "our officers will not randomly stop drivers/pedestrians to ask about their travels. Traffic laws will be enforced."

Which is what Dallas police want people to understand also.

"Officers are not going to solely stop you to identify if you are an essential or nonessential person heading to work or not,” Dallas Police Public Information Officer Carlos Almeida said. “But they will continue to do their job and stop for traffic infractions."

The hospital council said police departments have assured them if anyone is stopped their hospital badge would be enough proof.

The Dallas County Sheriff's office commented and said like other departments they have chosen not to stop anyone unless there is probable cause. However, they pointed out it could be done because there is a legal and binding order in place allowing it.

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