'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

Members of the Cy-Fair Fire Department Emergency Medical Services team respond to an accident on Brittmore Road in Cy-Fair on Jan. 8. (Courtesy Capt. Daniel Arizpe/Cy-Fair Fire Department)
New fund to benefit Cy-Fair firefighters, department members

"We want to be able to come in and do some work that needs to be done for these heroic people."

Pine Street Eats & Sweets will open at 107 N. Pine St., Tomball, in the spring. (Adriana Rezal/Community Impact Newspaper)
Pine Street Eats & Sweets sets spring opening in Tomball

The eatery will serve breakfast and lunch and will feature a bakery.

The U.S. Census Bureau has released its 2019 data for Pearland. (Haley Morrison/Community Impact Newspaper)
Pearland minority population increases from 2014-19 and more census data

A look at 2019 U.S. census data for the city of Pearland

The Texas Department of Transportation plans to install a center, raised median on 5.8 miles of FM 1092 from Hwy. 59 to Hwy. 6. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Texas Department of Transportation to add median on FM 1092 in Missouri City

In an effort to improve the movement of traffic and reduce collisions along FM 1092 in Missouri City, the Texas Department of Transportation plans to add a median to separate the six lanes of traffic and limit left turns.

Novel at River Oaks
Inner Loop apartment rents tumbled by as much as 16% in 2020

"I would hope that these operators in those areas—at some point, you can’t lower rents anymore. They just have to wait for people to show up," ApartmentData's Bruce McClenny said.

Dr. Jacquelyn Johnson-Minter, director of Fort Bend County Health & Human Service, said Jan. 21 that it has been frustrating that the supply of vaccines thus far has been unable to meet the demand. (Morgan Theophil/Community Impact Newspaper)
With vaccination hub designation, Fort Bend County prepares for increased COVID-19 vaccine shipments

Fort Bend County is prepared to receive and administer hundreds of thousands of COVID-19 vaccinations, County Judge KP George said during a press conference Jan. 21. To do so, however, the county must receive the vaccines in the first place.

The first-ever Houston Reads Day will take place March 2. (Courtesy Pexels)
Volunteers needed for inaugural literacy-focused Houston Reads Day

Volunteers will read to 10,000 kindergarten through third-grade students.

Van Leeuwen Ice Cream
Van Leeuwen Ice Cream is coming to Montrose Collective

"What attracted us to Houston was the incredible cultural and culinary diversity and the feeling of progress, growth in modernity the city radiates. The average daily temperature didn’t hurt either,” co-founder Ben Van Leeuwen said.

As of Jan. 21, Spring ISD has 125 active cases and Klein ISD has 99. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Spring, Klein ISDs see COVID-19 active case counts decrease districtwide

Both districts saw their active case counts drop after recording relatively high counts the week prior.

Pearland ISD's testing rates for the first semester of the 2020-21 school year were similar to first semester failure rates for the 2019-20 school year, according to district data. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
First semester failure rates on par with previous year's in Pearland ISD

Pearland ISD discussed failure rates at its board of trustees meeting.

One local health system leader said he expects everyone, including those under age 65, will have access to the vaccine within the next 90 days. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Houston-area health system leaders talk progress, hurdles during COVID-19

Officials from CHI St. Luke’s Health and UTMB Health said community members must remain vigilant as case counts climb but that they expect the current surge to peak by early February.

Humble ISD has 439 active COVID-19 cases while New Caney ISD has 87 active cases as of Jan. 21. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
New Caney, Humble ISDs see leveling out of active COVID-19 cases

New Caney and Porter High Schools continue to have the highest cases per campus in New Caney ISD.