The Tulsa Police Department said they are seeking a legal opinion on the newly passed mask ordinance.
It requires people to wear a mask in just about any public setting where physical distancing isn’t possible. That includes businesses, churches, and schools, but doesn’t apply to anyone under 18.
TPD said in part of their statement that the ordinance “lacks punitive violations” and limits police enforcement.
TPD said they won’t cite people for not wearing a mask specifically, but will enforce criminal trespassing violations if a person is asked to leave due to no mask.
The following is TPD’s full statement:
The Tulsa Police Department is currently seeking a legal opinion on the nuances of the newly passed “Face covering and social distancing during covid-19 pandemic civil emergency” ordinance. The current interpretation of the ordinance lacks punitive violations therefore limiting its enforcement by police. However, the Tulsa Police Department will continue to respond to and enforce criminal trespassing violations stemming from businesses and property owners requesting a person to leave their premises. We will only take enforcement action for trespassing after the business or property owner requests that the person leave and then the person refuses to leave, as is already stated in Tulsa Revised Ordinance Title 27 Section 2106.E.
If a business or property owner wishes to file trespassing charges upon another citizen, responding officers will issue a citation on behalf of the business or property owner and the complainant must sign the citation and be willing to appear in court to testify before a judge. If extenuating circumstances exist, responding officers may arrest the citizen on behalf of the business or property owner and the complainant must accompany the officers to our City of Tulsa Municipal Jail to sign a document which lists the charges against the citizen for trespassing.
Disorderly conduct and disturbing the peace ordinances are not applicable to a failure to wear a face covering or social distancing issue. Therefore, until a legal opinion is received, officers will not be dispatched to face covering or social distancing issues alone nor to those calls that are not made by a property or business owner.