RUIDOSO, N.M. (KRQE) – One newly-elected sheriff in southeast New Mexico is reaching out to Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham. He says that state officials are threatening his constituents with jail time for violating the public health order.
Lincoln County Sheriff Michael Wood says he’s had many business owners reaching out claiming state officials have sent them letters with language that if they violate the health order, they could land in the Lincoln County jail.
“It’s in writing that they could potentially find themselves incarcerated in my jail for this; I was a little bit upset about it, that nobody’s bothered to contact me; This is my county and my constituents deserve answers and they’re asking me questions I don’t have the answers to,” said Sheriff Wood.
Sheriff Wood admits these people are getting the letter for potential violations of the public health order. “Ain’t nobody going to be arrested for this and look at stripe and sunlight in my jail, that’s not going to happen. I may not be able do an awful lot about fines the revocation of a perimeter or a license but nobody’s going to be incarcerated in this county for violating the public health order,” Sheriff Wood said.
Sheriff Wood is trying to get clarification on his responsibilities concerning the health order as being a newly elected sheriff. “I reached out to the governor in writing, just so she understands or let her know where I stand about it; Having being the only sheriff, new sheriff taking office this year, it isn’t as though they just haven’t gotten around to me yet, but I deserve to know what goes on in this county,” said Sheriff Wood.
The sheriff understands if the state feels businesses are violating the health order but threatening jail time may be going too far. “One would think that our leaders would accept the responsibility of trying to create hope, um calm fears or nerves, rather than threat incarceration
The Lincoln County Sheriff will be holding a meeting Saturday morning at Municipal Park in Carrizozo at 10 a.m. to answer questions about this issue. KRQE News 13 reached out to the governor’s office about the letter and the threat of jail time but have not heard back.