Grundy County Sheriff Says People Want to Live, Not Just Exist During COVID-19 Will Not Arrest People Hosting Parties
Grundy County Sheriff Ken Briley wanted to set the record straight and let the people of Grundy County know he’ll not be enforcing social distancing guidelines if people have parties or open their businesses. Briley tells WJOL that no one will be arrested but reminds businesses that Illinois has control of your license.
Briley says while his office is taking the virus seriously, they will not be writing tickets for people who don’t maintain a social distriance, nor will they shut down graduation parties. But he believes most of the residents in Grundy County are doing the right thing but wants them to go about living their lives.
He says Grundy is not Cook County, they are a rural community and they take their solemn oath to defend the constitution seriously. Briley wrote a two page letter on Facebook basically stating he won’t be issuing tickets for parties.He encourages residents to make decisions that best fits them.
To hear the entire interview including whether he thinks his post is encouraging people to defy the stay-at-home order, click below.
The entire letter from Sheriff Briley’s Facebook post is listed below.
I’ve received many calls here at the Sheriff’s Office regarding the Governors Executive Order and how it affects businesses,
church services, weddings, graduation parties, and events on private property, amongst a host of other COVID-19 related
People have called asking for permission and or guidance on what they can and can’t do, and what will happen if they exercise their constitutional rights. Will they be fined? Will they be arrested? Will the Sheriff’s office stop them if they deviate
from the Governor’s Executive Order? The short answer is no however please remember a business has the right to make
decisions regarding masks and COVID-19 related requirements.
The first thing I tell those who call is thanks for being responsible and trying to do the right thing. I believe most of the residents in Grundy County are doing the right thing but want to go about living their lives. That includes day to day activities.
Most of these calls have come since the Governor extended the stay at home order and lumped Grundy County in with Cook
County. Ladies and gentlemen, we are not Cook County. We are a rural community who believes in freedom, the rule of law,
and support the constitution. With that said, you can absolutely count on the Sheriff’s Office to do just that, as we take our
solemn oath to defend the constitution very seriously.
Kids are graduating from school, leaving for military service and parents and family members want to celebrate those graduations and have family gatherings before their sons or daughters go off to serve our country. People are getting married and
beginning their lives together and want to share that joy with their families. Needless to say, people want to live, not just
This is new to all of us and I don’t claim to have all the answers, but what I do know is the citizens of Grundy County elected
me as the Sheriff not to trample on their constitutional rights but to defend them. I took an oath to uphold, support and defend the constitution and I will do that to the best of my ability, so long as I am your Sheriff, THAT YOU CAN COUNT ON!
I do believe the virus is something to be concerned about as I am sure all of you are, but to what point do we let this control
our life or our livelihood? People are hurting, business owners are worried if they will ever re-open or when under this Governors plan. Those are legitimate concerns!! The question is, do we let our businesses die from worry, fear, panic, wondering
when or where our next paycheck is going to come from. Do we give up what was just a few months ago, a normal life and
replace it with fear and apprehension? Do we as a community accept this as the new normal? Do we watch as our once great
community of local businesses dry up and closedown, never to return? That is what keeps me up at night. I love this community and there is no doubt we are all hurting right now, but we are not Chicago, we are not Cook County. We are Grundy and
we are fully aware of the virus and what it does and doesn’t do. We are a community of doers, makers and most importantly
neighborly people who just want to raise our children and provide them a better future.
So, let’s talk a little bit about calls I’ve received from business owners asking about “Can I open my business? What will happen if I do? Will I get arrested or fined?”
I can assure you the Sheriff’s Office will not arrest or ticket you for trying to make a living. However, since the State of Illinois
or local municipalities have the ultimate authority over business license, I cannot guarantee your business, liquor, or sanitation
license won’t get suspended or revoked. I have heard the Governor say he will do just that if businesses open against his orders. One last thing to consider before you decide to open is, will your insurance company insure you if you open during a declared emergency? Let’s hope the Governor reconsiders moving Grundy County out of the Cook County map region.
In regards too other calls I’ve received regarding weddings, graduation parties, etc.
The Sheriff’s Office does not have the authority to stop these types of events. Again, people are concerned if they have a graduation party or wedding on their private farm out in the county will the Sheriff’s Office shut them down? Speaking for just the
Grundy County Sheriff’s Office, the short answer is no WE WILL NOT!!
Most everyone I spoke to regarding these types of events have provided in detail how they will keep everyone safe by limiting
the number of people in attendance, holding their event outside where social distance is easy to maintain, etc. That shows me
people are taking the virus serious but want to live their lives.
The Sheriff’s Office is not going to ticket you or arrest you for having a graduation party, that’s not illegal.
I’ve spoken to our States Attorney Jason Helland about this on numerous occasions and he has relayed to me he will not prosecute violations of the Governors Executive Order. On April 21
st, 2020 Chief Deputy Director David Robinson from the Appellate Prosecutors Office wrote an opinion regarding the constitutionality of the executive order.
Deputy Director Robinson writes, “My research leaves me less than confident that a reviewing court will hold that the Governor has the authority to close businesses, bar attendance, church services and assemblies in excess of ten citizens”. He goes
onto say, “From a strict enforcement standpoint, although well-intentioned on an emergency basis, the Executive Order is
very broad and does not appear to meet strict scrutiny- not to mention the Executive Order appears to be beyond the framework of the specific act it cites as support.
As citizens of a free society we have a choice. If we feel that entering a store or place of business is not in our best interest, we
don’t have to. If we believe that there is not a risk or we are willing to accept that risk, we do by our own choice.
Let me close by saying this, we at the Grundy Sheriff’s Office are taking this virus serious, however, we are not letting inmates
out of jail as a result of the pandemic, we are not writing tickets for not maintaining social distance or shutting down graduation parties. We are law enforcement officers and we will up- hold our oath of office by not trampling on your rights as citizens
of this great country.
I hope this answers questions you have about my position as your Sheriff.