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Iron Co. Sheriff defends decision against mask mandate enforcement

Posted at 9:17 PM, Nov 11, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-11 23:17:40-05

CEDAR CITY, Utah — The Iron County Sheriff defends his controversial decision not to enforce the governor’s emergency order, including the state-wide mask mandate.

“People need to at least have some freedom of choice,” said Iron County Sheriff Ken Carpenter.

Sheriff Carpenter believes pandemic restrictions negatively affect his community, pointing to an increase in domestic violence and suicides.

“Here in Iron County, we’ve had four COVID deaths. We’ve had easily four, five, six times that many deaths, that I believe, are related to unintended consequences. Quite frankly, that tears my heart out,“ said Sheriff Carpenter.

While multiple studies confirm masks are an effective tool to limit the spread of COVID-19, Carpenter expresses doubts.

“My question is, is that a feel good measure or is that something that is effective?”

The Utah County Sheriff’s Office and Provo Police Department have recently have came out publicly opposing mask mandate enforcement.

Yet, Since Sheriff Carpenter is an elected official, the Department of Public Safety told FOX13 they don’t have control over enforcement discretion.

“DPS would hope everyone across the state would be voluntarily compliant with these measures that are only designed to keep us safe.”

“I’m not trying to make a political statement. This isn’t about politics at all. For me, this is about what can we do to best take care of our citizens,” said Sheriff Carpenter.

Sheriff Carpenter would like the governor to sit down with sheriffs from across the state to discuss enforcing the m