Late yesterday [Tuesday] afternoon I was on the telephone with a state official in Columbus, when that official informed me that he was watching Gov. DeWine in a press conference announcing a three-week curfew for Ohio citizens. I immediately began searching for a new or revised executive order from the Governor or his Interim Director of Health in order to ferret out the details of such an order.
I found no such order — the last order signed by Gov. DeWine was in August, and the most recent order from the Interim Director of Health was issued on Nov. 15, but is silent as to any curfew.
I then began reading press accounts of the Governor’s press conference. Those accounts indicated he was imposing a 21-day curfew on all citizens starting Thursday, prohibiting people from leaving their homes from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. Within an hour, some media sources began reporting that this was a “retail curfew”, meaning stores would be closed but citizens could still move about. Confusion appeared to reign.
Checking media outlets again this morning, I find that the Governor is telling the media that the details of his curfew order will be forthcoming. Confusion continues to reign.
At this point I am absolutely dumbfounded by the Governor’s actions. First, it would seem to me that if making an order of this magnitude, one would write the order first, then announce it at a press conference. Apparently we are now expected to accept the Governor’s verbal musings at press conferences as “executive orders” and hope that he will provide the details at a later date.
These are not actions that engender public confidence in government.
Most troubling is the fact that ordering healthy citizens in a free society to remain in their homes under these circumstances is unprecedented in the United States, violates the United States Constitution and the Ohio Constitution and is therefore unenforceable by the police.
The Blanchester Police Department will take no action to enforce such an order. Doing so would subject us to civil liability for violation of federal civil rights and would violate our oaths of office.
Scott Reinbolt is Chief of Police for the Village of Blanchester.