Social media rumors and fears of police checkpoints or random traffic stops in response to the city of Burleson’s Wednesday stay-at home order are unfounded, Burleson Police Chief Billy Cordell said.
“We’re not going to be just stopping people merely for driving on the streets of Burleson to ask what they’re doing and where they’re going,” Cordell said.
Cordell added that while police won’t hesitate pulling motorists committing traffic violations or suspected of other crimes over, they won’t be pulling drivers over based solely on the stay-at home order.
“The provisions of the declaration allow for officers to pull people over,” Cordell said. “But the impression some people have that we’re going to be out stopping people to ask if they’re essential workers or where they’re going is untrue. We’re only going to pull people over, as we always have, if we have reasonable suspicion of traffic laws or some other crime for the stop.”
The Burleson order remains in effect through April 13 unless extended by city council. Burleson Mayor Ken Shetter urged residents to stay home except for essential needs. The purpose of the order is to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 through Burleson and the county.
Burleson is the first Johnson County city to issue such an order.
The order, among other provisions, temporarily closes certain businesses but allows those businesses deemed essential to remain open.
“The one instance I could see us pulling someone over because of this order would be a quarantined house situation,” Cordell said. “If you have the residents of a household quarantined and they were just to ignore that order and go out anyway, yes, we would pull them over in that instance.
“But let me say again, other than a situation like that, we’re not going to be doing that and in fact, probably 60 seconds after the order came out last night, I sent a memo to my officers just to be sure they knew that we’re not going to be out just randomly stopping people.
“And when you think about it that wouldn’t make sense for us anyway. We’re taking every precaution and trying to limit our exposure too because we want to keep our officers healthy and safe. So it wouldn’t make sense for them to be out there randomly pulling people over.”