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State Police encouraging following COVID guidelines instead of legal action

Harrisburg, PA – Pennsylvania State Police have said that their goal isn’t to file charges or arrest anyone for violating COVID-19 restrictions, but rather educate and encourage people to follow guidelines.

However, if the situation evolves something urgent, such as an altercation or someone who is willfully not following orders and becoming dangerous, they will take legal action then.

According to the statistics for April 2020 in comparison to April 2019, State Police say they haven’t seen much of an increase of overdoses or using Narcan to revive someone. The stats are fairly similar to each other, so they haven’t seen a major increase in overdosing.

They also spoke about troopers having to wear masks when coming in contact with someone and the difficulty that sometimes creates. Police rely on facial expressions and body language to read situations or defuse tense circumstances, so wearing a mask can hinder that.

State Police handle incidents in mostly rural areas that do not have police departments of their own. When asked if PSP would go in and force the governor’s order if a municipal police department does not, PSP Deputy Commissioner of Operations, Lieutenant Colonel Scott Price said that they would not. He said that the municipal police departments would make those decisions on how to respond.

However, for incidents that PSP do respond to in their jurisdictions, they would continue to follow the governor’s orders. The county leaders might decide to ignore those legal actions and allow businesses to reopen, but State Police would still take those legal actions and allow county district attorneys make the decisions on whether to follow through.

Listen to the full interview with PSP Deputy Commissioner of Operations, Lieutenant Colonel Scott Price.