Enforcement of Gatherings at Private Residences

Cortland County Sherriff Mark E. Helms released a press release to address the governor’s executive order (below):


Mark Helms (County website)



Enforcement of Gatherings at Private Residences

Due to the many questions I’ve received regarding the enforcement of the Governors Executive Order 202.74 limiting the gatherings in private homes to no more than 10 people, I wanted to let everyone know that the Cortland County Sheriff’s Office will not be enforcing this directive.  Even if I had enough officers to address this issue, which I definitely do not, enforcement of this Executive Order raises serious constitutional questions.  The right to privacy in the home, the right to be free from warrantless searches, the right to equal treatment under the law, just to name a few of the constitutional questions.

Although I agree that we all have to do our part to limit the spread of COVID-19.  Having a loosely written directive suggesting law enforcement should monitor how many people are in one’s house at one time is not only problematic, but it basically limits an officer to friendly persuasion urging common sense.  Law enforcement officers enforce criminal statutes, not executive diktats.

I hope that everyone will continue to wear masks when applicable as well as do their best to limit any gatherings they may have or attend.  The Cortland County Health Department is working diligently to do all that they can to help keep us safe from COVID-19.  Please help them by doing your part to stop the spread of COVID-19 while enjoying your holiday season.

Sheriff Mark Helms