This morning, Kevin Lawrence, Executive Director of the Texas Municipal Police Association, released the following statement in response to Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo’s local order requiring the wearing of masks under penalty of fine or imprisonment:
“To the Sheriff, Constables and all Police Chiefs of Harris County:
The Texas Municipal Police Association, and our members of the local law enforcement associations listed below, in conjunction with the Houston Police Officers’ Union and the Harris County Deputies’ Organization, implore you not to instruct, direct or even permit your law enforcement officers to enforce County Judge Hidalgo’s executive order regarding citizens wearing masks during this pandemic.
It is not that we disagree with the need for the masks; in fact, we absolutely believe them to be a valuable tool against the spread of the virus and we encourage everyone to wear one when outside their homes. Our members also believe we can be of great service in distributing masks to those who cannot obtain them elsewhere and educate the public on their importance.
However, threatening to have people cited and even jailed for not wearing protective clothing–especially in a county that refuses to prosecute a large percentage of actual criminals–is tremendously bad public policy. Such a mandate will only serve to erode the relationship between our law enforcement officers and the citizens they serve in a time when law and order and public safety has never been more important.