With government resources terribly strained these days, it’s understandable that Lewis County Sheriff Michael P. Carpinelli is reluctant to have his deputies enforce safety protocols pertaining to the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo asked sheriffs to help ensure people were wearing masks at restaurants and bars and following social distancing rules. He has warned businesses that he may reimpose strict lockdown orders if they don’t see that their customers comply. Various regions of the state have begun reopening after several months, and health officials do not want infection rates to start rising again as a result of people being careless.

However, Mr. Carpinelli does not see that it’s his job to put the governor’s executive orders into effect. He compared the novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) to influenza viruses and questioned why law enforcement agents should spend their time enforcing state mandates related to it.

“To me, it’s not a criminal crisis; it’s a health crisis. Why should the police be enforcing a health crisis?” he said in a story published Tuesday by the Watertown Daily Times. “It’s not a law. A law is voted upon by the people through the Senate in Albany and then signed by the governor, not just an executive order; that does not make any edict that he puts out an automatic law.”

Mr. Carpinelli said his office does not have the personnel to fulfill Mr. Cuomo’s request. He added that the governor’s office has a history of poor communication with sheriffs around the state. Rather, Mr. Cuomo should use state troopers to see that people are adhering to his orders, Mr. Carpinelli said.

We appreciate how taxing it is for any law enforcement agency to spend its valuable time driving around its region checking on who’s wearing masks and staying at least 6 feet away from other people when interacting. Under normal circumstances, many police departments have trouble performing all the tasks we ask of them.

But Mr. Carpinelli is wrong on a couple of points. The governor’s executive orders have the effect of law because this power was granted to him in March by the state Legislature.

And likening the coronavirus to the flu recklessly imperils people’s lives. More than 150,000 Americans have now died from COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. This is about three times as many people who die annually from the flu — and many more fatalities will occur before the pandemic subsides.

Law enforcement agents are regularly called upon to restore and maintain order among members of the public during natural disasters.

These are not crimes, yet it’s crucial to have police officers on the streets ensuring public safety.

Using sheriff’s deputies to check on how people are complying with coronavirus mandates is difficult yet necessary. Many people have become belligerent toward employees of restaurants, bars and stores who ask them to wear masks. Law enforcement agents carry a great deal of authority, so rebels are less likely to mouth off to a police officer telling them to obey the law.

We get a strong sense that Mr. Carpinelli is listening to woefully misleading voices on the coronavirus and doesn’t believe these orders are necessary. The problem is that if infection rates in Lewis County go up, Mr. Cuomo may order local businesses to close down — this wouldn’t benefit anyone.

Mr. Carpinelli has announced that he will run for governor in 2022. Good for him! But if he wishes to have any chance of success, he must demonstrate that he understands the seriousness of a public health crisis and how to control it.

Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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(28) comments

Newsjunkie39a

The Carp would be right at home in central Florida, stopping motorists for going 31 mph in a 30-mph zone, and threatening them with $500 fines.

The health department is responsible for enforcing the health laws of NY. If they run into a difficult person, the Sheriff can provide back-up. Carpi, once again, is right. I'm giving him a check and voting for him. j

rockloper

All kinds of agencies are responsible for health issues including law enforcement. As an example , social services are not the only ones involved in suspected abuse cases. It doesn't matter what Cuomo requested, carpet nelli would opposed cause, you know, he thinks there's a lot more support for him besides the 'don't read to me' crowd.

Pitbull

[ban] See the 1045PM comment by little rockloper. "Finally something you can handle..." Rarely does the guy write something informative and insightful. Its all sniping by a coward. The Times needs to ban the liberal cowards who do nothing but attack others. Start with rockloper. I try to express my views in every post. This coward doesn't even try.

rockloper

You're too easy. I expressed my views. I said I thought 'carpi' is a flunky.

rockloper

It would be more informative for all if you stated facts with sources instead of just your viewpoint. Viewpoints are nothing more than an opinion which for discussion's sake are worthless. At least occasionally holmes will source something. little rockloper would be more than happy to engage in meaningful dialogue but he gets sick of just posting meaningless drivel and responds in kind.

Pitbull

You mean like the 6 posts on this article you made without references? I hope you have several high horses because you do ride a lot. Why don't you just follow the rules the WDT posts instead of breaking them (Please reference rule section below).

delrang

Again, one more time..liberty does not mean you can do whatever you want to. Again, one more time..Northern New York would shrivel to nothing without the tax base of New york City area.

minder

[thumbup]

Newsjunkie39a

But why stop at NY State, Sheriff? Why not run for President? On the Authoritarian Ticket? I know at least two chaps who'll vote for you.

LAW

"Mr. Carpinelli said his office does not have the personnel to fulfill Mr. Cuomo’s request." If he can't manage a tiny sheriff's department in a minor county, why would anyone trust him to lead the entire state? If he can't figure out this little problem, what would he do in Albany? Ignore it? Raise taxes to hire more people? Find someone else to blame? What would he do if he had to protect millions of New Yorkers across the entire from a virulent disease that appeared suddenly? Complain about the cost? The resources? What would he do?

Holmes

Ever hear of symbolic law or selective enforcement? Police, prosecutors exercise enforcement discretion everyday. Nothing new here...

Just ask me, 54 arrests, 54 dismissals, pretty sick of it Ms Moser.

LAW

Yeah. It's called "corruption" to use the technical term.

Ideal qualification for a Republican gubernatorial candidate.

LAW

Yeah. It's called "corruption".

rdsouth

Just because it exists doesn't mean it's right. Selective enforcement amounts to legislation by enforcement, to rule by men rather than rule by law. Designing an alternative to the prosectorial discretion that makes it possible will be difficult for reformers. But in the meantime, how officials use their power should inform our voting. We can't get rid of kings in general, but at least we can still vote for which ones we prefer.

mightypen

It's about time this division-mongering, misinforming public official was held accountable for his selective enforcement of the law. The sheriff is a sterling example of the country's failed response to the pandemic crisis, promoting his right-wing political extremism over public health and safety.

zeitgeist

[thumbup]

rockloper

[thumbup]

Newsjunkie39a

And this guy thinks he should be governor?????

rockloper

[thumbup] Exactly, this guy is a joke. He's been playing to a small audience in Lewis County and is now under the impression it's actually a majority. What's the history of this clown?

She's back

Since he is running for Governor I think we DO need to know more about him... I would particularly want to know why he was "retired" ( air quotes his own) from the Rochester Police department at age 42. Kinda young to retire. He describes Rochester this way..." Lots of Diversity as they say"

...What exactly does he imply?

HERE is his speech announcing his run for governor on June 10 2020 in a non-socially distanced , unmasked, group in some bar or something.

His air quotes about being "retired" in 2006 come at minute marker 3:05

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Qn77c3R5XM

Newsjunkie39a

I look forward to a debate between Sheriff Roscoe and Andrew Cuomo.

Pitbull

I like this guy a lot and will volunteer when he starts his campaign. He'll stand for liberty and common sense. That being said, I would vote for a dirty kleenex to unseat Prince Andrew from Queens who runs the state like a private club. Leave us alone, Andy.

rockloper

Finally something you can handle, volunteering for a flunky.

delrang

See above. Again, one more time....

Newsjunkie39a

NY has the SAFE Act. Get over it.

Newsjunkie39a

". . . liberty and common sense." Right. Drag out these tired, war-horse clichés. Now see how many yards you gained on that possession. Zero? Oh well.

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