HPOU: Police Not Looking to Enforce Social Distancing

Violating Harris County's "Stay Home, Work Safe" policy carries a $1,000 fine and/or 180 days in jail, but how will social distancing be enforced?

Some KTRH listeners have called the newsroom asking if police will break up your family cookout. Houston Police Officers' Union President Joe Gamaldi says that's not likely.

“Our officers have a lot on their plate right now. They're going to be running calls as people call in. They may not have time to stop every single time they see a couple people not engaging in social distancing. That's just a reality of the situation,” say Gamaldi.

If pulled over while driving, attorney Brent Webster told KPRC 950's Ken Webster, host of “The Pursuit of Happiness,” you don't have to answer where you're going.

“You can say 'Officer, I would like to exercise my right to remain silent,' and they're of course going to persist and insist you answer the question,” he says. “But they can't compel you to answer that question because you have a right in the United States to remain silent.”

That doesn't mean you won't get a citation or carried off to jail. Webster says that's a legal battle for your attorney to handle. “You're going to see lawsuits coming out of this soon. I know there are lawyers in DFW who are exploring different lawsuit avenues.”

“I certainly don't think our officers have time to stop every car on the road and be asking them where they're going,” Gamaldi added. “We have enough calls to deal with and we're short-handed enough.”

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