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Politics & Government

Local police to handle reports of violations of Gov. Whitmer's stay-at-home order

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The state's labor department is not accepting complaints from workers who think their employers are violating Governor Gretchen Whitmer's executive order to stay home, known as the "Stay Home, Stay Safe" order, that took effect on Tuesday.

Jason Moon, spokesman for the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity, said workers should contact their local law enforcement agency.

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel's office said local police departments are where Michigan residents should report any complaint about violations of this order.  

Kelly Rossman-McKinney, Nessel's spokesperson, said failure to comply could result in a $500 fine and/or 90 days in jail for each violation.

"Theoretically it is possible that local law enforcement could potentially close down a business as a public nuisance," said Rossman-McKinney in response to a question about whether non-compliance could result in closure.

Among other things, Whitmer's order directs all businesses to suspend all in person operations for at least three weeks unless they are necessary to sustain or protect life. The order also directs all Michiganders to stay home except under very limited circumstances.

The instruction to refer all violations of the order to local police departments for enforcement came on Tuesday after the Department of Attorney General was overwhelmed by calls related to the Governor's COVID-19 related executive orders. 

Law enforcement representatives are asking Michiganders who wish to report violations to call their police departments' non-emergency numbers. That's because 911 lines need to be kept open for emergencies. 

"911 dispatch centers are becoming overwhelmed with calls," said Robert Stevenson, executive director of the Michigan Association of Chiefs of Police.

Stevenson said the MACP has asked the Attorney General's office to provide clarification for police officers about what constitutes a violation of the Governor's COVID-19 related executive orders. 

"Although response can vary from department to department, our agancies take very seriously the Governor's emergency orders," said Stevenson. "They expect the vast majority will voluntarily comply and that it will be an education issue for those that are in violation." 

According to Grand Rapids Police Department spokesman Sgt Dan Adams, Grand Rapids is "confident that the community will do the right thing, as we are already seeing numerous examples of compliance, cooperation and support."

Adams said Grand Rapids is asking people to call 311 to report violations of the governor's emergency orders.

The Attorney General's office said complaints about unfair, deceptive and fraudulent business practices should continue to go the Attorney General's Consumer Protection Hotline.  Reports of all other violation of the Governor's COVID-19 related executive orders should go to local police for enforcement.

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