JUNEAU — The Dodge County Sheriff is telling the public not to call his office to report violations of the governor’s new mask mandate.

Sheriff Dale Schmidt said in a press release Thursday “the legal difficulties with this order, the limited staffing … available to enforce the mandate, and the governor’s direction that the public should do nothing if they see someone (not) wearing a mask” in asking that the public “not contact the Dodge County Sheriff’s Office to report incidents where someone is not wearing a mask.”

He said his on-duty staff will be directed to comply with the mask mandate with the understanding that several exceptions permit them to not always have a mask on. They will also be asked to voluntarily comply with the order while off duty.

Schmidt said voluntary compliance is the best course and encourages everyone to take precautions to keep themselves and others safe. He recognizes there are different viewpoints and a need to protect people from getting sick, while also protecting individual rights, but says “loopholes” in the order present “significant challenges … open to interpretation.”

The order does grant exemptions to the mask mandate for medical reasons and the governor asks that the public not assume a person’s health situation when encountering someone without a mask.

Because of that, the sheriff says his deputies will not be responding to or investigating mask violations.

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