A message from Chief Mike Fort:
With the new orders to stay home from Governor Inslee, I want you to know what you can expect from the Battle Ground Police Department.
First, we have seen the majority of our citizens already comply with the restrictions put into place last week. Our citizens are compassionate, and care about their neighbors and loved ones. We expect the same compliance will happen as a result of the Governor’s “stay at home” order. Our citizens know the dangers of spreading this pandemic to our most vulnerable citizens is real.
Our police officers’ primary goal is to educate people about how to comply with the Governor’s order to stay home, and why it is important in order to slow the spread of COVID-19. Officers will also address groups of people that gather in violation of the current restrictions. Officers will remind people who are not complying with the order about the health risks to their loved ones, and the legal ramifications if they fail to comply.
We are confident that our citizens genuinely care enough about their fellow citizens that we will not have to resort to arresting or citing anyone. In order to quash some rumors, there will not be “checkpoints” or any other such action to specifically determine a person’s reason for traveling, nor is anyone required to carry “papers” indicating their reason for movement. . . However, enforcement of existing laws is an option for those who simply will not comply with the Governor’s Stay Home, Stay Healthy order. (RCW 43.06.220 (5) makes it a gross misdemeanor to willfully violate the order issued by the Governor, however, I expect enforcement will be a last resort.)
Citizens wishing to submit a complaint about activities that do not comply with the governor’s Stay Home, Stay Healthy order may do so by using the department’s anonymous tip form at www.cityofbg.org/tips and officers will follow up as priorities allow. Please do not call emergency or non-emergency dispatch for these complaints.
A note for our businesses: Our police officers will remain especially vigilant around businesses. You can expect police officers to be on extra alert around businesses that have been closed by order of the Governor. We realize not only the economic fear that goes with closing a business, but also the real fear of crime when a business is closed. We are asking for people to keep watch in their neighborhoods and businesses for suspicious activity and report it to 311 for non-emergencies or 911 for emergency situations.
Final note: The men and women of the Battle Ground Police Department have been working tirelessly throughout this crisis. Like you, they also have families that are impacted by the shut-downs yet they continue to diligently serve their community with compassion. I am proud of the great work they do every day, and I am proud to be part of the Battle Ground Community.