To our readers,

The COVID-19 pandemic is a once-in-a-century type story, ... Click here to continue

Police say education is key to enforcing mask mandate

By Stephen Betts | May 12, 2020
Face coverings, such as these masks, are required to be worn in most instances in places where people gather.

Local police agencies are taking an educational approach to enforcement of Gov. Janet Mills' order to require face coverings.

On May 12, Rockland Police Chief Christopher Young said the majority of people who are not wearing masks have simply forgot.

"We have to remember that we are expecting people to completely change some aspects of the way they have lived their entire lives. They are going to forget. This has to become a learned behavior and it will take time. That is why Rockland PD is using education as the primary tool in gaining voluntary compliance," the Rockland chief said.

The order issued April 29 by Mills requires individuals to "wear cloth face coverings in public settings where other physical distancing measures are difficult to maintain."

Those locations include indoor spaces that are accessible to the public such as grocery stores, retail stores, pharmacies and health care facilities; outdoor spaces such as playgrounds, busy parking lots, and other areas such as lines for take-out service where the public typically gathers in a smaller area; and public transportation such as a taxi, ride-sharing services; ferry, bus, or train; and any semi-enclosed transit stop or waiting area.

Cloth face coverings are not required for children under two years of age, a child in a child care setting, or for anyone who has trouble breathing or related medical conditions, or who is otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance.

A person who cannot wear a cloth face covering because of a medical condition is not required to produce medical documentation of the condition, provided that an employer may require such documentation from an employee in accordance with state and federal law.

The Sheriff's Office has responded to about a dozen calls of people saying someone is not wearing a mask.

Knox County Sheriff Tim Carroll  the few occurrences have been very minor.

"Law enforcement in Knox County has an overall good relationship with the people we all serve.  I'd like to believe that it aligns with the level of professionalism that our law enforcement officers; collectively in all local agencies, display at all times dealing with our citizens of Knox County that allows us to gain the necessary compliance needed in these difficult, ever changing times.

"Chief Deputy Polky and I are in constant communication with the three local police chiefs and often times are aligned with each other and our agencies approach on multiple issues. In these times, it must be and certainly is a team approach," the sheriff said.

Camden and Rockport Police Chief Randy Gagne said his departments also focus on education but said he is not aware of any complaints filed with the Camden/Rockport departments about people not wearing masks.

If you appreciated reading this news story and want to support local journalism, consider subscribing today.
Call (207) 594-4401 or join online at
Donate directly to keeping quality journalism alive at
Comments (1)
Posted by: ananur forma | May 12, 2020 09:53

GREAT to read this.

If you wish to comment, please login.