Gov. Tony Evers ordered everyone who is not an employee of an “essential business” to stay home, starting today.

   But that doesn’t mean he’s personally walking the streets of Ripon to ensure compliance.

   The task of enforcement falls on local law enforcement, such as the Ripon Police Department.

   What does that mean for Ripon?

   “Obviously the Governor’s Stay at Home Order, as well as the previous orders concerning the closing of certain businesses, and establishing rules concerning restaurants and carry outs is an event that is unprecedented for our department, our community and our state,” Ripon Police Chief Bill Wallner said this morning. “Ultimately, we would like people to consider the orders as very important to the overall protection of everyone in our community, and hopefully citizens will use voluntary compliance to the orders.”

   But that doesn’t mean everyone will. When people do not, law enforcement will try to encourage Riponites to follow Evers’ order.

   “All law enforcement in the county, as well as the district attorney's office, have indicated that they will enforce the orders as they are made,” Wallner said. “We also realize that the business community and personal lives have been altered as a result of this illness already. With that, our position has been and will continue to be to pursue voluntary compliance in most cases. Ultimately, though, we must keep in mind the community as a whole, and if persons or business are not complying with the orders, we do have the power to enforce those orders.”

   That can mean a variety of responses, he explained.

   “Several things can occur, from counselling and problem solving the issue, along with our partners in the Health Department to educate the party in the importance of the order, to referring charges to the district attorney's office for charges associated with non compliance,” Wallner said. “Our department will address complaints as they are observed or received.”

   That will not mean officers marching the street, seeking violators at every turn.

   “We will continue patrols as we have done in the past,” Wallner said, adding that “We have instituted some changes in how we do business to limit face-to-face contact, such as limiting access to the department for all non-essential persons, cutting off some services like fingerprinting etc. asking some appropriate questions for additional information on calls for service to determine any sick or ill people present.”

   Wallner explained the department’s overall goal is a healthy community.

   “All law enforcement within Fond du Lac County has been in continuing contact with the Fond du Lac County Health Department, because of the number of cases within the county, and as the first to report cases in the state,” he said. “... Our hope is to all work together to get through this difficult time.”