Triangle law enforcement issuing very few citations as COVID-19 cases continue to increase


RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — As the state encourages certain counties with higher numbers of COVID-19 cases to perform stricter enforcement, CBS 17 took a closer look at current efforts.

According to the Gov. Roy Cooper’s orders, violating the rules could get mean a citation, which is considered a Class 2 misdemeanor. 

CBS 17 learned many of our local law enforcement agencies are still focused on educating rather than enforcing. 

“Just yesterday a lady from my church was buried because she died from complications of COVID. So I’m very concerned,” Robin Manning said. 

So how many citations have our local law enforcement agencies handed out since March? The Wake County Sheriff’s Office said zero. That was the same number provided by the Cary and Durham Police Departments. 

The Durham County Sheriff’s Office said it gave out one. That was back in April when investigators said they pulled a man over for drinking and driving — and it was during that time the driver admitted from coming from a large gathering. 

Chapel Hill police said they gave out four citations back in August and eight citations since.

All the Chapel Hill cases were referred to the Orange County Pre-Arrest Diversion program. Officials said that leads to accountability and education over a criminal penalty. 

“It’s hard for the police to try to police everybody,” Willie Wright said.

Raleigh police didn’t respond to a recent CBS 17 email on the matter. About two weeks ago an investigator said no citations had been handed out in Raleigh.

“I don’t think we’re at the point yet where I want to enforce that personally,” Raleigh Mayor Mary-Ann Baldwin said.

Instead, much like Raleigh, the other area departments said they’re focused on educating people.

CBS 17 asked what might change that stance for Baldwin. 

“We are not panicking. But we will continue to monitor the situation,” Baldwin said.

That citation, a Class 2 misdemeanor carries with it up to 60 days in jail and a $1,000 fine.

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