'Gain compliance without arrest': Montgomery County law enforcement urges voluntary compliance to contain coronavirus

Montgomery County District Attorney Brett Ligon and a representative from the sheriff's office said they hope to not have to arrest anyone for disobeying coronavirus-related orders. (Courtesy Fotolia)
Montgomery County District Attorney Brett Ligon and a representative from the sheriff's office said they hope to not have to arrest anyone for disobeying coronavirus-related orders. (Courtesy Fotolia)

Montgomery County District Attorney Brett Ligon and a representative from the sheriff's office said they hope to not have to arrest anyone for disobeying coronavirus-related orders. (Courtesy Fotolia)

At the March 24 Montgomery County commissioners court meeting, some of the discussion centered around the need for voluntary compliance with coronavirus-related orders.

However, it was not clear in the meeting to what extent the county—both individuals and businesses—was complying. County Judge Mark Keough said the county is “doing an amazing job” but later said the sheriff’s office had followed up on reports of noncompliance.

In a followup interview, the sheriff’s office clarified that as of March 25, the office had received two reports by citizens who believed persons were in violation of the social distancing guidelines. The instances were related to individuals, not businesses, and deputies found both calls to be unfounded, Lieutenant Scott Spencer said in an email.

County District Attorney Brett Ligon said he had received word of a few businesses that were in violation, but there were no citations or issues.

“We’ve contacted those businesses personally [and] told them what the law was,” Ligon said. “We had no arguments after we explained what the law was.”


Both the sheriff’s and DA’s office are urging residents to adhere to guidelines of social distancing. Ligon said anyone who defies the order could face up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine, but law enforcement is hoping to not have to penalize anyone.

“If violations are observed, our first action is to educate them that they are not in compliance with these orders,” Spencer said. “We are instructing our deputies to first appeal to the violators' sense of community. Deputies will have a physical copy of the order to present to individuals who may not be in compliance or lack knowledge on the specifics of these orders. Our ultimate objective it to gain compliance without arrest.”

Law enforcement is using a combination of self-initiated checks on businesses and restaurants as well as responding to reports, Ligon said.
By Eva Vigh
Eva Vigh joined Community Impact Newspaper in 2018 as a reporter for Spring and Klein. Prior to this position, she covered upstream oil and gas news for a drilling contractors' association.


MOST RECENT

Gym goers at Crossfit Enoch in Conroe were back to heavy lifting May 20. (Eva Vigh/Community Impact Newspaper)
CrossFit gyms in Conroe cautiously reopen

“It’s been pretty busy. Everybody’s been ready to get back at it," one owner said.

Under guidelines from Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, day care centers, bars and entertainment venues—including bowling alleys and bingo parlors—were allowed to reopen a limited occupancy May 22. (Community Impact staff)
Harris County coronavirus count: Officials confirm 469 new cases over Memorial Day weekend

Under guidelines from Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, day care centers, bars and entertainment venues—including bowling alleys and bingo parlors—were allowed to reopen a limited occupancy May 22.

The Jersey Village Community Swimming Pool will reopen May 30 under its regular operating hours after being closed since late March due to the coronavirus. (Staff photo)
Jersey Village to reopen city pool May 30

The Jersey Village Community Swimming Pool will reopen May 30 under its regular operating hours after being closed since late March due to the coronavirus.

Bombshell Crossfit
Editor's pick: See best Montgomery County photos this week, May 17-23

On May 18, gyms across the state were allowed to reopen per Gov. Greg Abbott's orders. Crossfit gyms in Conroe, such as Bombshell CrossFit and Crossfit Enoch, reopened with social distancing guidelines in place.

Houston ISD was distributing as much as 15,000 pounds of food per day during its 10-week community program, which wrapped up May 22. (Hunter Marrow/Community Impact Newspaper)
Houston ISD transitions to curbside meal pickup program starting June 1

After two months of distributing food across the community, Houston ISD is changing gears for the summer.

Spring ISD announced the class of 2020 valedictorians and salutatorians for each of its five high schools in a press release May 22. (Courtesy Pexels)
GALLERY: Spring ISD announces class of 2020 valedictorians, salutatorians

While graduations will look a little different this year due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, salutatorian and valedictorian addresses will still be given during each of SISD's virtual graduation ceremonies on June 6.

Katy-area residents practice social distancing guidelines by waiting outside a craft store. (Jen Para/Community Impact Newspaper)
Katy area's May 22 daily COVID-19 case count increases by 25

All new repoted cases occured in Harris County ZIP codes.

fourth of july
South County Fourth of July parade canceled in The Woodlands for 2020

The South County 4th of July Committee and Market Street announced its 44th annual Fourth of July parade will be canceled this year.

Here is a timeline looking back on the work Community Impact Newspaper has done covering the pandemic in the Tomball and Magnolia area and beyond. (April Halpin/Community Impact Newspaper)
TIMELINE: Coverage of the coronavirus so far in Tomball, Magnolia

A breakdown of events caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Spring Smiles Dental Group and Orthodontics, located on FM 2920 in Spring, is now operating at 25% capacity and offering normal dental services. (Courtesy Spring Smiles Dental Group and Orthodontics)
Spring, Klein health care providers adapt as state gradually reopens

Local dental, optometry and pediatric care providers maintain social distancing guidelines as the state gradually reopens amid the coronavirus pandemic.

This month's residential real estate data compares data for five local ZIP codes and takes a look at the Sedona Lakes neighborhood. (Elyssa Turner/Community Impact Newspaper)
DATA: A look at March residential real estate data in Pearland, Friendswood

This month's residential real estate data compares data for five local ZIP codes and takes a look at the Sedona Lakes neighborhood.