EDITORIAL: Sheriffs response to covid gathering order was disappointing

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Categories: Editorial, Opinion

When it comes to protecting the public’s safety and enforcing the law, we expect more from sheriffs and other law enforcement leaders than their response to Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s new covid-related limits on the size of private gatherings.

Among new orders he issued last week designed to limit the spread of the virus, the governor announced that private gatherings would be limited to 10 people.

That edict comes as covid cases are spiking all over and on the heels of the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays.

We understand that people expect their privacy. And we understand why police would be reluctant to devote resources to breaking up someone’s Thanksgiving dinner when there are other crimes to enforce, like DWI and domestic violence.
But the response from some sheriffs in the state, including several from our area, was irresponsible and dangerous.
One sheriff who said his department wouldn’t enforce the gathering order called it unconstitutional, unenforceable and a low priority.

Another said private residences were sacrosanct and that police will always respect that.

Another wondered if police would be expected to count cars in driveways.

These are all paltry excuses for not enforcing a law they disagree with.

With regard to selective enforcement, police make judgments on how to allocate their resources and which laws to enforce every single day.

Do you think police pull over every driver who drives over 65 on the Thruway? Do they ticket every jaywalker they see? Everyone who sets off fireworks?

As for the constitutionality question, that’s for the courts to decide, not individual police agencies. Their job is to enforce the existing laws as best they can. Period.

And that whole bit about private homes being suddenly off limits? Give us a break.

So an officer sees a bunch of cars parked on the street and a bunch of teenagers having a party in the backyard, he’s not going to check it out to see if there’s underage drinking going on? Or an officer drives by a house and sees a woman with a black eye sobbing on her front steps, he’s not going to check to see if she was the victim of domestic violence? Please.

At the very least, police had an obligation as public safety officers to outwardly support the governor’s initiative on principle and emphasize social distancing.

Well, you could say that people were inquiring about whether police would be enforcing the order. And we say: Since when do police feel they owe anyone an explanation about what laws they intend to enforce and when?

Rather than speak out against the order, it would have been better for all had the sheriffs just stayed silent and let people decide for themselves whether to risk getting in trouble for hosting large gatherings. At least then, some people might have been discouraged from having them.

Gov. Cuomo’s order, whether you agree with it or not, was designed as a safety measure to slow the spread of the virus.

It’s up to police to protect us by upholding such efforts, not undermining them.

11 Comments

William Marincic

I guess you missed that part in the Constitution and Bill of Rights just said life liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
Amendment 4 – Search and Seizure

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Amendment 5 – Rights of Persons

No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

Amendment 9 – Unenumerated Rights

The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people

So it looks like King Cuomo is violating three amendments to the constitution, come and see me and my family I’ll see you in court.

Mark Mahoney

Read up on the subject before you comment. The governor was issued special powers by the Legislature to deal with the pandemic.

William Marincic

Also Gazette you were saying that the sheriffs need to enforce the laws, the governor does not make the laws that would be the legislature, there is no law on the books in New York State that says you cannot have more than 10 people at a residence if there is such a law please post it because I’ve never seen it.

William Marincic

Mark you want to say that is the sheriffs responsibility to follow through and fine and arrest people for gatherings of more than 10 people, you say it’s not the sheriffs responsibility to decide what’s the law and what is not the law. What about district attorney‘s that decide who they’re going to prosecute and who they’re going to let free? Should they lose their jobs for not doing their jobs? If a person is arrested it’s up to the district attorney to prosecute and when they release these people without prosecution they are not following the law. You can’t have it both ways.

William Aiken

“At the very least, police had an obligation as public safety officers to outwardly support the governor’s initiative on principle and emphasize social distancing.”

So what about the Gazette? Are you not obligated to question a Governor who signed executive orders that sent patients infected with Covid virus into nursing homes? This blunder led to the deaths of thousands of the elderly. Yet, the media gushed over Cuomo’s press conferences as they never held him accountable. We still don’t know the actual numbers on these deaths. In addition, Governor Cuomo stated he plans to obstruct the deployment of a Covid vaccine that’s been deemed 95% effective. Cuomo rejects the vaccine because it will bodes well for the President. His petty jealousy of Trump’s success could cost New Yorkers thousands of more lives.

At the very least, I expect the Gazette to question these intrusive Covid edicts by the Governor’s. His handling of the virus have been the worst among his governor peers. His track record, judgement and arrogance on Covid warrant the Gazette’s skepticism, not their blind acceptance.

Mark Mahoney

We’ve written several editorials on the subject criticizing the governor’s action regarding nursing homes and calling for the actual death statistics. Here are the dates of the editorials as they appeared on our website. Look them up yourself: May 12, June 19, July 8, July 31, August 3, September 5 and November 7 (less than two weeks ago). We also called for the Legislature to rein in his powers in editorials on May 4 and May 20. We’ve criticized his decision to send in the National Guard to secure ventilators and PPEs from upstate hospitals (April 4). We’ve written two editorials this month criticizing Cuomo for politicizing the vaccine (but you’re wrong saying he plans to obstruct the vaccine; he said the state just wants to have its own scientists study it and review the distribution methods, just like several other states are doing.) Two years ago, we endorsed his opponent in the governor’s bid for re-election, while criticizing him for not debating. I could cite other editorial positions we’ve taken critical of the governor. We call them like we see them. When he does something we feel helps New Yorkers, we praise him. When he does something that we feel is detrimental to New Yorkers, we call him out. We don’t mind criticism, Bill. But at least get your facts straight about us before you spout off.

William Marincic

Regardless if I or others agree with you or not I want to thank you for responding to us concerning your editorials, it’s a breath of fresh air.

William Aiken

I didn’t said you never criticize the Governor on Covid. My point you should take into account his credibility. After all the moving of the goal posts regarding Covid restrictions, the public is fed up and skepticism of their Governor. He’s shown bad judgement on this issue. His history should be taken into consideration when he makes a such broad overreach as his edict for Thanksgivings.

William Marincic

Mark the Governor in the middle of the night also passed the safe act. And his special powers have yet to be challenged in the courts including the supreme courts where I doubt that he will prevail. Cuomo is nothing less than a dictator with his solid Democrat legislature rubberstamping everything he does. I wouldn’t believe Andrew Cuomo if I saw him sitting on a block of ice and he told me his ass was cold. And his edicts do not take away my constitutional rights in any way, shape, or form.

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