Four Northern Michigan Sheriffs have gone on the record saying they don’t plan to strictly enforce Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s executive orders. The sheriffs of Leelanau, Benzie, Manistee and Mason County released a joint letter saying that they don’t see the benefit of enforcing the state executive orders with an iron fist.
Contrast this with Grand Traverse County Sheriff Thomas Bensley who has forwarded at least 47 complaints to Grand Traverse County Prosecutor Noelle Moeggenberg. The pair say they are taking complaints to forward them to Moeggenberg for her interpretation of the executive order. The problem with that is that Moeggenberg has not issued any directive guidance on what is and is not essential. The Grand Traverse County Facebook page is full of pics of Noelle and posts about crime victim rights.
Sheriff Bensley says, “Some people may feel they’re essential and continue to work, and that’s not the prosecutor’s interpretation of that.” So if you think you may have a right to work, good luck you’re at the mercy of Noelle’s interpretation of an executive order that she did not write. Residents are left to guess and hope they don’t end guessing wrong.
Perhaps Sheriff Bensely sees those trying to work as the latest “fish in a barrel.” With a $1,000 fine per perpetrator, does Bensley see it as the latest easy way to increase revenues? Grand Traverse Administrator Nate Alger sees it that way. He declared a county emergency back on March 26, back when the county had like 2 cases. He admitted that the purpose of the emergency declaration was revenue.
The Record Eagle reported that Sheriff Bensley said his officers have not been popular with the working community for enforcing the no-work orders. No kidding. People who are working telling other people they can’t is not popular? Shocker. Perhaps this will come back home to roost when these business owners and their unemployed workers are asked to side with the police during a jury trial. Perhaps the police don’t realize the damage they’re doing to what is already fragile public trust in our law enforcement, especially in the local area. Perhaps they don’t care. Is a badge public trust, or is it power for you and for your friends?