A Letter from NYSACOP - Commentary on Law Enforcement Involvement on Gathering Limits during Thanksgiving

The New York State Association of Chiefs of Police recognizes the devastation that the Covid-19 virus has taken on our state and we respect any reasonable measure to mitigate and control the spread of the virus. New York Law Enforcement has played a pivotal role in reducing the spread including massive efforts to educate the public on mitigation strategies and procedures, responses to thousands of calls for service, and enforcement actions. The role that law enforcement has played in Covid-19 containment cannot be overstated.

Governor Cuomo’s recent executive order limiting gatherings in private homes to 10 people or less has placed New York State’s law enforcement officers in a difficult position and given the constitutional implications, enforcement of this executive order will be complicated. As American citizens, New Yorkers have the freedom from unreasonable search and seizure guaranteed in the fourth amendment. No American should fear that law enforcement will be checking their home to determine how many people are present and if a gathering is lawful. We are a free society and our freedoms and rights must be respected. There are over 600 police departments in New York State and each agency and municipality will have to approach this order in a locally driven manner. However, we can assure the public that thousands of New York State’s police officers will be out on patrol keeping the public safe while the citizens we serve enjoy Thanksgiving Day. Officers will be responding to calls for service and enforcing all laws in a fair, unbiased, constitutional manner. We would simply ask that our citizens act in a responsible manner and take precautions to stop or contain the spread of Covid-19. Responsible behavior will reduce spread and help to keep people healthy. Constitutional policing is always our mission and we will respect the constitutional rights of our citizens during street encounters, traffic stops, and at Thanksgiving dinner.

We wish everyone a safe, happy and healthy holiday as together we look forward to a day when worries of the Covid-19 virus are a thing of a past.

The New York State Association of Chiefs of Police