Local top cops say officers will obey Constitution when it comes to Cuomo's executive order on gatherings
Neither Sheriff William Sheron nor Batavia Police Chief Shawn Heubusch intends to have their officers knocking on doors of private residences to see if people are violating a Gov. Andrew Cuomo executive order that prohibits gatherings of 10 or more people.
They both do, however, expect people to be reasonable and responsible and avoid large gatherings in response to the uptick of COVID-19 cases locally.
Cuomo's order, in advance of Thanksgiving, a traditional time for extended families to gather together to celebrate the holiday, has drawn criticism throughout the state.
Both Sheron and Heubusch cited the constitutional prohibition against unreasonable searches.
Heubusch said city police officers will respond to complaint calls as normal and conduct any interaction within the requirements of local, state and federal laws.
Sheron was more openly critical of the governor's order, questioning its constitutionality and suggesting Cuomo would better serve the people of New York by encouraging residents to be cautious and use good judgment.
We are not encouraging people to have large gatherings in their homes. I want citizens to use their own best judgment and remain safe. We do not have the resources, nor the inclination, to peep into private residences to see how many people are at the dinner table.
The Executive Order raises serious Constitutional questions. Serious issues about the right of people to privacy in their homes, the right to be free from warrantless searches, the right to assemble, the right to freedom of religious practice, the right to equal treatment under the law, and the right to have criminal conduct clearly defined by law are all implicated by the Governor’s Executive Order.
I think that, rather than issuing orders, which are, at best, impossible to enforce, and, at worst, unconstitutional, the Governor would serve the People of New York better if he used his bully pulpit, not to do more bullying, but rather to encourage our citizens to be cautious, use good judgment in weighing risk factors, protect the vulnerable, and enjoy our families and our great gathering traditions only in ways that are safe until we can get back to normal.
The City of Batavia and the Batavia Police Department want to remind the public that we are currently living through a global health crisis and ask everyone to do their part to help stop the spread of COVID-19. That includes celebrating responsibly with family and friends during this holiday season. We are confident that the residents of the City of Batavia will do your part to keep you, your family and your neighbors safe. The Executive order does not alter any Federal or State laws with reference to search and seizure restrictions, therefore the Police Department will respond to call for service as we have in the past and execute our duties within the bounds of Federal, State, and Local laws. The City Police Department will continue to respond for calls for service in the normal course of business to keep our families and residents safe.