DECATUR COUNTY – Decatur County Prosecuting Attorney Nate Harter, together with Sheriff Dave Durant, Greensburg Mayor Joshua Marsh, Greensburg Police Chief Brendan Bridges, and President of the County Commissioners Rick Nobbe, on Tuesday issued the following statement regarding enforcement of recent emergency declarations by the Decatur County Commissioners, the Decatur County Health Department, and the Decatur County Emergency Management Agency.
The Decatur County Commissioners have issued a declaration of local disaster emergency and local travel warning under Indiana Code 10-14-3-29 and -29.5. This severely limits travel to include only the most essential functions such as emergency management workers, healthcare providers, and food providers.
Individuals are directed to
• Refrain from all travel, except as permitted in the declaration;
• Comply with necessary emergency measures;
• Cooperate with public officials and disaster services forces in executing emergency operations plans; and
• Obey and comply with the lawful directions of properly identified officers.
Pursuant to Indiana Code 10-14-3-34, knowing, intentional, or reckless violation of this emergency order is a Class B misdemeanor, punishable by up to 180 days in the Decatur County Jail and a fine of up to $1,000.
As the chief law enforcement officer in the county, it is the job of the prosecuting attorney to enforce the above laws.
In a news release received by the Daily News, Harter said law enforcement agencies in Decatur County will continue their hard work to disrupt criminal activity.
The release states officers are not out looking for violators of the above declarations and ordinances, but if – while investigating traffic violations, existing curfew violations or crimes – they happen to find that the subjects are in violation of the travel restrictions, they will report those violations to the prosecuting attorney, who will review the facts for filing criminal and/or civil charges.
There may be occasions in which law enforcement investigate gatherings and activities that pose a danger of spreading the disease.
The criminal justice system is not looking for arrests, but residents who break the law are putting others at risk. There must be accountability and consequences to such recklessness in order to protect our vulnerable populations and the public servants who risk their health for our safety, the release continues.
Harter recognized the County Commissioners, Health Department Director Sean Durbin, Decatur County Memorial Hospital CEO Rex McKinney, and Emergency Management Agency Director Brad Speer for their hard work toward containing this outbreak.
“Making the conscious decision to limit the freedom of their friends and neighbors cannot have been an easy decision, or one they took lightly,” Harter said.
Harter also expressed his gratitude to the dispatchers, EMTs, doctors, nurses, firemen, jailers, law enforcement, and others who continue to serve, even at the risk of their own health, in order to protect public safety.
“This community faces a tremendous challenge, and we will be measured by how we come together and unify behind caring for our friends, family, and neighbors. While there will be suffering ahead of us, we must address this hardship together, with grit and grace toward one another,” Harter said. “In a time of crisis, the rule of law becomes even more important. That is why I am dedicated to enforcing the restrictions enacted by our locally elected officials. If you have to be out for essential purposes like obtaining food or medical treatment, at least do so using social distancing and proper hygiene. If you don’t have to be out, stay home. It’s temporarily the law, and it is also the right thing to do.”