Ask the Chief
The Corona Virus has changed so many things in our lives, how we interact, how we go to school and work and how we see the world around us. The public’s response to the virus has ranged from full panic to complete denial. Generally, those who have responded in an extreme manner tend to be from large metro areas. We are very fortunate to live in rural Minnesota where we think before acting and seek information before making crucial decisions. Overall, I am pleased with the response from the residents of Minneota. The vast majority are taking the President’s and Governor’s orders seriously and have implemented them into their lives. It is important to remember that what we have been asked to do will directly benefit us and our loved ones. It is a matter of taking personal responsibility for our health and to prevent spreading the virus to others.
I have also heard a great deal about the need for “papers” in order to leave your home, or that law enforcement will be stopping people to verify why they are out and about. This information is an example of people failing to become knowledgeable before spreading misinformation and fear. You do not need a letter from your employer explaining that you are an essential employee. No government leader or agency has ordered that such papers be needed. Yes, it is a misdemeanor to violate the Governor’s order, but the order permits people to leave their homes for numerous reasons. Furthermore, law enforcement has been advised not to stop people and “check their papers”. We have been told to handle complaints of the Governor’s order by educating the public and helping people make better choices. In fact, we were told to handle the complaints of people gathering in groups in the same manner as we would handle a noise complaint or a loud party call. For me, this means that I show up talk to people, explain what the problem is and provide them with a solution. If we take a step back and think about this logically you will see that what I am saying makes sense. Social Media and many news outlets are sowing seeds of fear and doubt when reporting on the virus and the government's response. Fear sells papers and gets people to watch their TV, which in turn sells commercial air time. Boring factual reporting is not profitable, while inflammatory and outrageously suggestive reporting makes millions. Always check your sources and be very skeptical of social media reports and any reporting that uses words such as like, possibly, maybe, suspected, could have, could be and so on.
Finally, beware of scams. Scam Artists are smart and they work very hard at developing scams that prey on your emotions, fears, personal greed, and needs. I have seen many scams showing up in the area. Everything from tax scams, US census scams, stimulus money scams and more. The government will never call you to verify your personal information because they already have it. Those of us living in rural Minnesota know that if you want something you must work hard to get it. If you want to keep something you must protect it. I encourage all of you to think for yourself. Do your homework and make good decisions based upon facts and reasoning and not upon profit-based media reports. While other states and communities give in to fear, I pray that Minneota will rise above it all and come out stronger in the end.
Chief Bill Bolt