MEDFORD, Ore. — The Medford Police Department on Wednesday echoed a statement from Oregon law enforcement leaders issued the day before, asking Oregonians to respect the two-week freeze so that enforcement does not become an issue.
A joint letter issued by the Oregon State Sheriff's Association, the Oregon Association of Chiefs of Police, and Oregon State Police urged Oregonians to unify and protect the most vulnerable members of their communities by observing the freeze.
MPD asked the people of Medford to do the same in order to help stop the rapid spread of COVID-19, promising to pursue an "education first" approach to enforcing the freeze restrictions — only issuing criminal citations as a last resort.
“Medford Police Officers will be directed, where appropriate, to not take immediate enforcement action," said MPD chief Scott Clauson. "Law Enforcement always has the option of gathering relevant information, completing the investigation into the alleged violation of the order, completing a police report, and referring the case to the District Attorney’s office for charging considerations at a later time.”
The agency cited surging cases in Jackson County that have increasingly raised the pressure on local hospitals, which are seeing a record number of coronavirus-related hospitalizations.
"We must make it a priority to take preventative actions such as wearing a mask, staying home if you’re sick, and limiting social gatherings as much as possible," MPD said. "We recognize the inconvenience of the pandemic and the impacts the restrictions have had on all of us. Please join us in following the Two-Week Freeze to make our communities a safer and healthy place."