California sheriff’s office doesn’t plan to use patrols to enforce stricter COVID orders


The San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Office in Southern California said Friday it will not utilize law enforcement patrols to enforce Gov. Gavin Newsom‘s latest coronavirus mitigation orders.

In a statement, the office said it is aware of Newsom’s plan to modify the state “Stay At Home” order based on changes in bed capacity at intensive-care units

Newsom, a Democrat, announced Thursday that four out of five regions in the state will have fewer than 15% of beds available in the intensive care units of their regional hospital networks within a day or two, which will trigger the new restrictions. The Bay Area was the only region that did not meet the criteria. 

When the orders go into effect, the governor said all bars, hair salons, barbershops, casinos, and indoor and outdoor playgrounds will be mandated to shut down. 


The sheriff’s office said it will continue to focus not on direct enforcement but instead hopes to educate the public about the dangers of defying the orders.

“We will continue to work closely with our county and city partners to best serve our communities,” the statement read. “As has been the case since we were initially faced with the difficulties of living and working through this pandemic together, our goal is to educate and gain voluntary compliance regarding Public Health orders.”

“We will continue to partner with our communities and deliver the law enforcement services they deserve while keeping health and safety of our staff and those we serve as a top priority” the statement went on.

An online reporting system was set up in March through a cooperative of county departments for the public to voice concerns and lodge reports.

Residents of the county who contact the sheriff’s office to report alleged violators of the state orders will instead be referred to the county’s JIC (Joint Information Center) so that the cases can be adjudicated through those avenues instead.

Depending on the severity of the reports, they will be responded to by other city or county-based agencies.

Allegations made by residents regarding individuals not wearing masks or not social distancing will not receive a law enforcement response, SBCSO Public Information Officer Brittany Rios told Fox News on Friday.

“It’s not our intent to utilize patrols,” she said.

The department stressed in its statement that there is a level of trust given that members of the community will show good judgment and act responsibly to slow the spread of the coronavirus in California.

In Northern California, a conglomeration of counties announced that they will preemptively implement the state’s regional “Stay at Home” orders.


Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Francisco, and Santa Clara Counties, as well as Berkeley city, made the collective announcement Friday.

“It takes several weeks for new restrictions to slow rising hospitalizations and waiting until only 15% of a region’s ICU beds are available is just too late,” explained San Francisco Health Officer Dr. Tomás Aragon. “[T]he time to act is now.” 

Fox News’ Michael Lundin and Vandana Ramabaran contributed to this report.