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Chief Wilson weighs in on enforcement of new Blacksburg ordinance

Published: Aug. 12, 2020 at 10:36 PM EDT
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BLACKSBURG, Va. (WDBJ) - Now that Blacksburg has new rules in effect with the return of students, we checked in with Police Chief Anthony Wilson to see how the new ordinance will be enforced.

On Tuesday, the town council passed new guidelines to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Wilson said he wants everyone to be on the same page. Town officials met with businesses downtown multiple times to address their needs for the ordinance.

Police said they don’t want to write out a bunch of tickets for violators. Their goal is to help educate people.

“I don’t want anyone to come here and feel like this was a hostile situation,” Wilson said. “This is us trying to come up with a strategy during a public health emergency and that’s all this is about.”

After students returned from spring break, Wilson said they didn’t write a single ticket for violators of the governor’s executive orders. He said students did a fantastic job and were trying to figure out how to adjust to this new society. He believes this is what the fall will be like.

“I think the students here understand that this is not about punitive measures, this isn’t about ways to disrupt them,” Wilson said. “This is about how do we thrive in this very serious public health crisis.”

The chief said he wants to help keep the students here, see them graduate and have the best college experience they can have.

“We’re certainly not going to pull the trigger on a ticket right away,” he said. “We’re going to use the tools that are available. I think you’re only going to see those kinds of actions taken in blatant disregard for the rules and actually putting other people in danger.”

Wilson said he is optimistic students will comply with the rules, stay here and thrive.

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