Arizona enacted a statewide stay-at-home order this week to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus. The order will remain in effect through April 30 and stipulates in part that Arizonans limit their time away from home except for activities related to services and functions deemed essential by the state. Defying the order can lead to a misdemeanor citation. Tucson Police Chief Chris Magnus discussed the department’s approach to enforcing the order.
“We see this as a health issue, not a criminal justice or legal issue. Our goal is not to go out there and cite a bunch of people,” Magnus said. “Our plan, and this is what we’ve already been doing, is to talk to people to try and gain their cooperation, to try to get them to understand that not only are they compromising their own health and safety but they could do real harm to other people.”
Magnus also discussed precautions his officers are taking during the pandemic and the department’s own challenges securing enough masks.
“We have people even standing in line at businesses where we might think there might be available masks,” Magnus said. “We asked for 80,000 masks from the last strategic shipment that was coming from the federal government to the state. Out of that, we got 80.”
Magnus said the department has enough masks to last two to three more weeks. To help supplies last, officers reserve them for situations where dispatch has informed them a person is ill or has COVID-19 symptoms.