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Tucson Police start mask enforcement operation

Posted at 7:57 PM, Sep 17, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-18 16:26:05-04

TUCSON, Ariz. — Tucson Police said they saw a situation and took action.

"We have seen an uptick from the UA area from reports from Pima County Health," TPD Lt. Tim Reese said.

EDUCATION OVER ENFORCEMENT

The action: enforce a mask ordinance around parts of the city. But they'll tell you it's not meant to be a reason to hand citations.

"To really kind of help educate people and give them some tools and some information that they need to help be safe from everyone."

TPD said it's going to walk around town, hand out masks to people who don't have one and explain the rule.

"People are required to wear face-coverings if they are out in a public place and they're unable to easily maintain a distance of 6-feet from everyone else."

A PENALTY EXISTS

The goal, according to LT. Reese, is not to pile on fine after fine.

"Our ordinance does require them to be used so that's our goal is to really get these things used in our community."

Like any enforcement measure, it does have teeth.

"Although the ordinance does allow for citation to be issued, our first goal is to educate our community members as to what the ordinance entails."

The City Attorney's Office tells KGUN9, a person will have to practically ask to be fined for not having a mask and violating the ordinance.

The penalty: $50.

WEEK LONG ENFORCEMENT OPERATION

Police said they're going to focus enforcement on certain areas of town.

"The university area, where we saw the uptick, Fourth avenue, the downtown entertainment district. Things like that," Lt. Reese said.

He added that officers around the city can enforce the mask ordinance as well.

The department said they'll have 100,000 masks to hand out, over the week-long operation.

"At the end of a week we'll look back and see. We are gathering some statistics to include how many people we contact, how many masks we end up issuing out."