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Law enforcement agencies across the county and the state are now tasked with enforcing the state-wide Stay-at-Home Order issued by Gov. Lee on Thursday in response to the growing COVID-19 pandemic.

The order requires all Tennesseans to stay home unless they are carrying out essential activities until April 14.

According to an open letter issued from the governor to law enforcement agencies across the state, violations are to be given a warning and if the violation continues the person or business in violation will be cited for a Class A misdemeanor.

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In Tennessee a Class A misdemeanor is punishable by up to but not greater than 11 months and days in jail and/or a fine up to but not to exceed $2,500.

"I ask you to utilize sound judgment, restraint and discretion to first educate and warn your local businesses and establishments in order to provide them all reasonable opportunity to comply,” the letter reads. “Enforcement measures should be used as a last and final option only if they become necessary due to a refusal to voluntarily comply after all other reasonable means have been exhausted.”

Franklin Police Department Public Information Officer Lt. Charles Warner said in an email that a judge would determine the exact fine or punishment associated with any citation that is written.

Agencies across the county are hoping that citizens will comply with the order, and asking that anyone who choses to report a violation to do so using non-emergency phone lines. 

"Our role will be to first educate and warn businesses and provide them with an opportunity to comply," Brentwood Police Chief Jeff Hughes said in an email.

Hughes also said that BPD will not be making traffic stops for the sole purpose of determining a motorist’s purpose of travel.

The Spring Hill Police Department did not return a request for comment but did share a Facebook post by District Attorney for the 22nd Judicial District Brent Cooper that told the public to not see the move as an abuse of rights on part of law enforcement.

"NO. The police are not going to be stopping people at random to check their "papers" (insert Nazi reference here). The Constitution has not been suspended. In fact, the Governor's orders are to enforce the Executive Orders WHILE protecting your Constitutional Rights. In other words, an officer has to have reasonable suspicion or probable cause to stop and detain you; just like they do for any other crime," the post reads.

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