ALBUQUERQUE — A rural county sheriff has deputized about 20 church members at an in-person church service, working around Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s public health order designed to combat the spread of the coronavirus.

Sierra County Sheriff Glenn Hamilton said it’s about recruiting help and preparing for the worst but he also noted that law enforcement is exempt from the governor’s stay-at-home order, meaning people can now attend future services, KOB-TV reported.

Sierra County, about 140 miles south of Albuquerque, is one of many rural counties that often use law enforcement volunteers since there are not enough deputies to cover the territory.

“Should riot conditions start existing, should civil disobedience, it could be everything from crowd control measures to as simple as administrative staff duties,” Hamilton said. “They wouldn’t be engaged in actual law enforcement duties per se unless the individual is maybe retired law enforcement."

Hamilton has extended the deputization offer to all churches in Sierra County and expects more to sign up.

Those special deputies have no authority until Hamilton calls them into service. That has not happened yet.

There has been one case of COVID-19 in Sierra County so far.

For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia and death. The vast majority of people recover.

“She didn’t open our communities she didn’t’ open our businesses,” Hamilton said. “I’m not in any way shape or form attempting to minimize the impact that that’s had on our state on their friends and on their families, but the reality, folks, is that we’re all going to die.”

For copyright information, check with the distributor of this item, KOB-TV.

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(1) comment

Stefanie Beninato

There may be only one case of COVID in Sierra County now but the sheriff acting with sheer determination to be dumb as dirt used an in-person CHURCH service to deputize people. How very twisted. Sure hope those Christians' god will protect them from COVID because it sure does not seem they get social distancing and how quickly it can spread--think McKinley and S Juan counties.

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