ORDINANCE TO DECLARE A LOCAL STATE OF EMERGENCY AND AUTHORIZE OFFICERS AND STAFF TO EMPLOY CERTAIN EMERGENCY MEASURES AND RESTRICTIONS IN ALAMANCE COUNTY
WHEREAS, pursuant to North Carolina General Statute Section 14-288.12 (a), as applicable to county government through North Carolina General Statute Section 153A-445 (b), Alamance County has the authority to declare a local state of emergency and enact ordinances to deal with a local state of emergency; and
WHEREAS, this Ordinance authorized by statute permits the following prohibitions and restrictions:
(1) Of movements of people in public places;
(2) Of the operation of offices, business establishments, and other places to or from which people may travel or at which they may congregate;
(3) Upon the possession, transportation, sale, purchase, and consumption of alcoholic beverages;
(4) Upon the possession, transportation, sale, purchase, storage, and use of dangerous weapons and substances, and gasoline; and
(5) Upon other activities or conditions the control of which may be reasonably necessary to maintain order and protect lives or property during the state of emergency; and
WHEREAS, the recent weather related disasters across the nation have been severe and have resulted in the interruption of fuel supplies to the area to the extent that the effect rises to that of a disaster under North Carolina General Statute Section 166A-4(1a) being an occurrence or imminent threat of widespread or severe damage, injury, or loss of life or property resulting from any natural or man-made accidental, military or paramilitary cause; and
WHEREAS, the Board of County Commissioners of Alamance County, North Carolina desires to have in place an appropriate Local Ordinance to authorize it to take emergency actions and put emergency measures in place in the event of a local disaster, as described above; and
WHEREAS, in an effort to address the emergency facing the local government, the Alamance County Board of Commissioners deems it appropriate to take these steps at the local level to provide a more secure environment for the health, safety and welfare of its people;
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT AND IT IS HEREBY ORDAINED that the Alamance County Board of Commissioners enacts this Local Emergency Declaration Ordinance authorized and empowered under North Carolina general statute section 14-228.12 authorizing and allowing the Alamance County Manager to declare a local emergency as that term is defined under North Carolina General Statute Section 166A-4(1a) and appropriate proclamations to address the emergency, to place into effect any or all of the restrictions hereinafter authorized and direct County staff, by curfew or other means, to prohibit and restrict the following:
(1) the movements of people in public places;
(2) the operation of offices, business establishments, and other places to or from which people may travel or at which they may congregate;
(3) the possession, transportation, sale, purchase, and consumption of alcoholic beverages;
(4) the possession, transportation, sale, purchase, storage, and use of dangerous weapons and substances, and gasoline; and
(5) any other activities or conditions the control of which may be reasonably necessary to maintain order and protect lives or property during the state of emergency.
These further proclamations may exempt from any, or any part of such restriction, law enforcement officers, fire and EMS personnel, doctors, nurses and other classes of persons as may be essential to the preservation of public order and immediately necessary to serve the safety, health and welfare of the citizens within the Alamance County and to impose any other authorized prohibitions and restrictions appropriate at the time. The proclamation shall be in writing and shall be posted at the County offices and sent to the media which serves the affected area. The Manager may invoke the restrictions authorized by this Ordinance in separate proclamations and may amend any proclamation by means of a superseding proclamation. Any proclamation issued under this Ordinance shall expire five (5) days after its last imposition unless sooner terminated in writing. Termination of proclamations shall be posted at the County offices and sent to the media which serves the affected area.
This Ordinance is intended to supplement and confirm the powers conferred by North Carolina General Statute Section G.S. 160A-174(a) as applied to counties through North Carolina General Statute Section 153A-445, and all other general and local laws authorizing municipalities to enact ordinances for the protection of the public health and safety in times of riot or other grave civil disturbance or emergency.
Any ordinance of a type authorized by this section promulgated prior to June 19, 1969 shall, if otherwise valid, continue in full force and effect without reenactment.
Any person who violates any provision of an ordinance or a proclamation enacted or proclaimed under the authority of this section is guilty of a Class 3 misdemeanor punishable upon conviction by a fine not exceeding five hundred dollars ($500.00) or imprisonment not exceeding thirty (30) days as provided by North Carolina General Statute Section 14-4 and shall be subject to further to the provisions of North Carolina General Statute Section 153A-123.
This ____ day of _______, 20___.
Chairman, Board of Commissioners
Clerk to the Board of Commissioners
Wholly aside from the weird martial law sounding restrictions, Item 4 has been overruled by Bateman vs. Perdue.
I know what the Commissioners are thinking. They think that they should have some mechanism in place to order people about during an emergency. Have they ever considered that maybe people don’t want to be ordered about? Have they considered that restricting “the movement of people in public places” flies in the face of the First Amendment? Moreover, have they considered that applying heavy-handed restrictions might piss people off to the point they might complain with gunfire?
Here’s an idea. How about local governments try asking people to “help out” in an emergency by not hanging about on the streets getting in the way of the emergency services. How about they ask the people to “pitch in” by giving a hand to their neighbors during an emergency. That’s what most people want to do anyway. We have laws and police officers to deal with troublemakers both in normal times and during emergencies. Those laws should be the same.
Asking them to be good neighbors and good citizens makes them part of the solution. Ordering them about like so many serfs will only anger them. Public servants can’t afford to anger the people who they are supposed to be serving.
You’d think that would be obvious.