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Sierra County Sheriff deputizes 20 churchgoers amid pandemic

Sierra County Sheriff Glenn Hamilton

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KOB-TV) — A rural county sheriff in New Mexico has deputized about 20 church members at an in-person church service, working around Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s public health order designed to combat the spread of the coronavirus.

KOB-TV reported that Sierra County Sheriff Glenn Hamilton said it’s about recruiting help and preparing for the worst but he also noted that law enforcement is exempt from the governor’s stay-at-home order, meaning people can now attend future services.

The newly deputized can help with administrative staff duties and crowd control, but not actual law enforcement. These deputies have no authority until called into service, which has not happened yet.