Huntsville Police issue citation to non-essential business

Published: Apr. 21, 2020 at 10:19 AM CDT
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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - Police officers around the state are working hard to make sure Governor Ivey’s stay at home order is enforced, but at times, this can put officers in a tricky spot.

It’s been more than a month since Alabama’s first case of Covid-19 and non-essential businesses have been shut down now for more than three weeks.

Huntsville Police Lt. Michael Johnson said they get calls about violations and even gave out a citation this past weekend.

Johnson said a hair salon in Huntsville was letting people into the business and HPD had to ask the owner to stop and issue a citation.

Johnson said HPD officers are trying their best to work with people during this time, but they still have to enforce the order.

“We are so understanding right now about this situation, so many people are losing income but we do have a job to do," Johnson said. "We’re trying to balance that as best we can, it’s not an easy job, this is not easy to do.”

Johnson said they have gotten other calls about violations of the stay-at-home order, too.

“Usually comes in the form of a complaint, a call from another citizen, a neighbor or somebody that is visually seeing what is going on," he said. “We try to do a little interpreting over the phone and if it warrants going out, we do go out and try and figure out what’s going on.”

Johnson said these encounters don’t always end in a citation. He said a lot of the time the officers use it as a chance to educate people who did not know any better.

Johnson said HPD is seeing a slight increase in domestic violence calls and a slight decrease in felony crimes, like burglaries. Johnson said there are a number of factors that contribute to the decline, but it definitely helps that there are so many businesses closed right now.

As far as the health of HPD officers, Johnson said no one in the department is quarantined and no one has tested positive.

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