Greenlee Sheriff will not enforce curfew; Safford, Thatcher chiefs call for ‘common sense’

SAFFORD — Following Gov. Doug Ducey’s announcement of a statewide curfew in effect this week, a pair of local law enforcement agencies announced plans to take a common-sense approach to the issue, while a county sheriff said he would not enforce the executive order.

Greenlee County Sheriff Tim Sumner took to social media to say, “In response to the new curfew order from our Governor, Greenlee County will always protect and uphold the laws and Constitution. There are laws against rioting already, and we do not see a need in Greenlee County to stop people from going about their lives, including the major shift work at the Morenci FMI mine. It is unfortunate that a few peoples’ actions cause blanket orders that affect all.

“The executive orders have been coming out frequently, and this one being extremely short notice makes it almost impossible to comply with,” Sumner continued. “As the sheriff, I advised my deputies and staff we would not be enforcing the COVID-19 orders and now we will not be enforcing this curfew order, as again, it is not a law. If there are any groups gathering to commit crimes and destroy property, then we will deal with that situation, but we are very confident these types of actions will not occur in Greenlee County. We thank all the great citizens of every ethnicity that we have the privilege to serve, and we trust Greenlee citizens will remain law-abiding.”

“The City of Safford has had no demonstrations as of yet with no violence or other criminal activity attached to protesting. The Safford Police Department will be enforcing the governor’s order with common sense. This means we will not be arresting people for curfew without some other underlying situation. We will be educating the public of the order and its purpose. If a situation were to arise in the City of Safford, we would take action to stop any criminal activity including using the executive order,” Safford Police Chief Glen Orr said in an e-mail.

“The Citizens of Safford have been very good to the Safford Police Department and other local law enforcement (agencies). As officers, we will continue to strive to gain trust, and overcome barriers between law enforcement and the public.”

Thatcher Police Chief Shaffen Woods issued an identical statement.