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BSO Sheriff Gregory Tony: 'Everyone Has To Take On Social Responsibility'

Gregory Tony
Caitie Switalski
Broward County Sheriff Gregory Tony spoke to WLRN Wednesday about how the agency is enforcing county and state wishes to keep residents from congregating in public spaces during the coronavirus outbreak.

South Florida counties and cities are asking people to stay home to try to slow the spread of COVID-19. 


But how enforceable is social distancing? WLRN spoke with Broward County Sheriff Gregory Tony about where the agency is currently focusing its efforts. 


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BSO will host a live-streamed town hall to answer your coronavirus questions on the agency's Facebook page at 6 p.m. Thursday. If you have questions, you can send them to Ask_The_Sheriff@sheriff.org or participate live during the broadcast. 



WLRN: Government agencies are asking people to stay home, stay off the streets. What ways can you enforce that, and what ways do you struggle with that?


Sheriff Tony: This is a time when everyone has to take on social responsibility. What I encourage our men and women out on the road is, to provide that education, to provide that warning – and if an opportunity happens to arise where we just have to do an enforcement  – to look at the ability to provide citations. 


Can you force people to social distance? Is every person you see on the street kind of a different situation?


If someone's at a supermarket and they're picking up food and groceries, and in the process of going back to their vehicles they're in the parking lot – and I've seen this myself – and they're gathering and they're talking amongst themselves, it's curiosity about supplies, and what the thoughts are. Is that really the time for us to run up to say, 'hey you have 10 in a crowd, you're going to jail,' or 'here's your citation,'? No. It's an educational opportunity.


Then, the other side of that is - if we see a deliberate 50 people on the beach partying and drinking, you know, that's just a direct disregard for what these orders are about, as well as their own public safety and the safety of the community in which they're in. And that may take a little bit more of an aggressive approach. 

Caitie Muñoz, formerly Switalski, leads the WLRN Newsroom as Director of Daily News & Original Live Programming. Previously she reported on news and stories concerning quality of life in Broward County and its municipalities for WLRN News.