January 18th, 2021

Police ready to enforce face-covering bylaw


By Lethbridge Herald on December 10, 2020.

Police Chief Shahin Mehdizadeh speaks with reporters Thursday as the Lethbridge Police Service moves toward a greater enforcement phase of the City's temporary face-covering bylaw and new public health measures announced by the province earlier this week. Herald photo by Ian Martens @IMartensHerald

Tim Kalinowski
Lethbridge Herald
tkalinowski@lethbridgeherald.com
Lethbridge Chief of Police Shahin Mehdizadeh says the time for education on the masking issue is over as the Lethbridge Police Service moves toward a greater enforcement phase of the City’s temporary face-covering bylaw in conjunction with new public health measures announced by the province earlier this week.
“The Lethbridge Police Service respects, and will defend, the rights of all citizens to express their view on issues including mandatory safety restrictions put in place by the province and the City of Lethbridge to contain the COVID-19 pandemic,” he said during a media conference on Thursday. “Our preferred approach is to educate and seek voluntary compliance with the measures that have been put in place.
“Unfortunately, the nature of such (anti-masking) protests recently we have seen has elevated in Lethbridge as of late. Sometimes extreme protests interfere with the rights and freedoms of other citizens who are doing their part to reduce the spread of the virus. In the process those protesters also put community safety at risk.”
Mehdizadeh said his officers will take the appropriate enforcement actions when people in the community are put in harm’s way due to such extreme protest activities.
“Protesters and protest organizers who infringe on the rights of other citizens to go about their daily lives will need to be held accountable,” he stated.
Mehdizadeh stressed his officers would continue to have discretion as to how to enforce public health orders, and they would not be taking a “heavy handed” approach.
However, he confirmed, his officers will begin to issue public health violation tickets and may lay other charges as needed when faced with extreme protest actions which endanger the broader public or threaten the health of the community.
“It is not the intention of Lethbridge Police Service to inhibit others who wish to bring attention to their own particular views and opinions; as long as it is done in a safe, sensible and respectful manner,” he said. “Those who intrude on the ability of others to enjoy all this community has to offer, however, must be and will be held accountable.”
Mehdizadeh confirmed up until now his officers have not issued any public health violation tickets to individuals or groups in the community, preferring to issue warnings while working to educate the broader public on the importance of complying with public health orders and wearing a mask. He said everyone in Lethbridge is aware by now of the importance of doing so, but there are still a small number who refuse to comply. And there is even a smaller, extreme number who choose to elevate their non-compliance to the level where they are intentionally violating the safety of other community members by their actions, he said.
“(So far) we have taken the route of dialogue and education, and awareness,” he said. “As much as there is a minority of individuals who don’t agree with these rules for their own reasons, the way I look at it is they are putting the community at risk. They are, in fact, infringing on the rights and freedoms of other citizens, which is contradictory to the reasons why they are even planning these (protest) events. They are putting everybody at risk. We are in a pandemic, and I believe the days of just talk and education are over.”
Follow @TimKalHerald on Twitter

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h2ofield

Throw the book at these losers!!

Fescue

The LPS has condescended to enforce the law. How good of them, and how ironic considering that the anti-maskers are also the crowd that want the book thrown at every other trangresser.

pursuit diver

$50 fine! Okay, did they fix the bylaw so it will hold up in court? Or, will it cost the taxpayer $400 in policing per person to see the ticket go to court and $2000 in costs of going through the system, just to see it thrown out!
How many citizens have being threatened, if not punched for asking people to put on their masks, customers of businesses that are shopping and want to protect themselves and families. I have seen two violent incidents and that is because there has been no enforcement!
It appears one can get away with anything these days, except go to church and hear the service in our vehicle, unless you are doing drugs while you are doing it, and then it is okay! 🙂 You cannot walk down the streets of Lethbridge and have a beer, but you can shoot up on the corner of the building or doorway of the business.
I have zero faith anything will be done, the protesters will have a free run in the mall, endangering other shoppers during a busy season, and nothing will be done.
The $1,000 to $100,000 fines should be levied against the protesters if they go to the mall for the socializing laws that prevent families from enjoying Christmas this year, but allow protests during a state of public health emergency! They should be fined a minimum of $1,000 each!
There needs to examples made for deterents to be effective!



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