Open Letter from
Hardin County Sheriff Johnny Alexander
Citizens of Hardin County:
As you are most likely aware, Tennessee Governor Bill Lee has issued two (2) Executive Orders using his emergency powers granted under Tennessee Code Annotated § 58-2-107. Specifically, Tennessee Code Annotated § 58-2-107(f) provides in pertinent:
A governor may give such directions to state and local law enforcement officers and agencies as may be reasonably necessary for the purpose of securing compliance with this chapter and the orders and rules made pursuant thereto. Further, violation of an emergency Executive Order is also a Class A misdemeanor pursuant to Tennessee Code Annotated § 58-2-120. Class A misdemeanors carry a maximum jail sentence of 11 months and 29 days and fines not to exceed Two Thousand Five Hundred and No/100 ($2,500.00) Dollars.
Governor Lee has advised law enforcement officials, including our department, in pertinent, as follows:
“While it is my hope and expectation that Tennesseans – in order to protect themselves, their loved ones, their customers, and their communities from the spread of COVID-19 – will comply with these orders…I ask you to utilize sound judgment, restraint and discretion to first educate and warn your local businesses and establishments in order to provide them all reasonable opportunity to comply. Enforcement measures should be used as a last and final option only if they become necessary due to a refusal to voluntarily comply after all other reasonable means have been exhausted.”
Our department will faithfully execute the orders we have been given by Governor Lee, and in accordance with his order, we are utilizing social media as one of several mediums available to ensure we are first seeking to educate. We have attached all emergency Executive Orders and CDC guidelines to this announcement and strongly urge you to review them in detail as they clearly set forth Essential and Non-Essential Activities. Still, the latest Order from Governor Lee goes further to encourage even Essential Activities be limited to the strongest extent possible.
Make no mistake, COVID-19 is a potentially fatal disease that can cause serious pain and suffering to those who recover. There are consequences for your actions, and we implore you to act responsibly. By adhering to the orders of the CDC, Governor Lee, and our department, you are protecting not only yourself but potentially your family, friends, medical and law enforcement agencies, neighbors, and community members who may be more susceptible to COVID-19 than you are. They have projected this pandemic may cause over 100,000 deaths across the United States. One life is one too many, and please do your part to protect yourself during this unprecedented time. Feel free to contact our department or Governor Lee’s office with questions or concerns you may have. Please protect yourself and our department by adhering to these provisions. I am praying for the safety of everyone, and our department is standing by to ensure everyone is protected day and night. Together we will overcome this unprecedented pandemic.