Kankakee Sheriff won’t enforce Governors’ public health mask order during pandemic


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Kankakee County Sheriff Mike Downey is turning his staff’s eyes away from mask enforcement during a pandemic in Kankakee County.

Downey told The Center Square Monday “We have enough liability issues to worry about on a daily basis that this would just exacerbate the problem and I just don’t see it being legitimate,” Downey said.

Kankakee County has seen one of its highest jump in case counts in the last 48 hours, with 18 and 11 new cases announced of the pandemic on Wednesday and Thursday this week.

Those case numbers included four children in Kankakee County.

Governor Pritzker has said he wants local agencies to enforce the revised stay-at-home order, taking effect beginning today.

“What they do in their social life obviously dictates where they’re going healthwise,” Downey said. “For him to blame sheriffs, which doesn’t surprise me, is irresponsible.”

For the time being, “We take pride in having one of the finest County Sheriff’s Police Departments in the State of Illinois,” remains as the Sheriff’s tagline on their website, despite openly rebelling against the largest public health crisis in Illinois in the past century.

Later this morning, Sheriff Downey will be one of several presenters addressing citizens in Kankakee County for only the second time since the pandemic began.  An announcement is anticipated for the “Coalition for Responsible Reopening” in Kankakee County.

Sheriffs in Douglas and Tazewell County have said they won’t enforce the order.  Douglas County has 14 cases of COVID-19. 

Tazewell 37 cases with 3 deaths. 

In Kankakee County, as of Thursday, there were 383 cases with 28 dead from the pandemic.

Shane Saathoff
Shane Saathoffhttp://www.SocialSnowball.com
An active writer for two decades, Shane's focuses on local news and events throughout the area, Shane is an active historian, science nerd, and tech geek. Shane is a native of Bourbonnais, IL, and alumni of Olivet Nazarene University.


  1. This guy really doesn’t get it. If I survive this situation and am still alive the next time Mike Downey comes up for re-election, he will NEVER get my vote, even if he’s running against Elmer Fudd. Stop politicizing this horrible tragedy!

  2. Thank you sheriff, our governor is acting foolishly. Majority of cases in our county our Shapiro or nursing homes, our governor is creating unneeded panic

    • Wrong. The cases at Shapiro and the nursing homes were introduced from the outside and the people in those homes got tested. Kankakee Co. Health Dept. has been showing the death rate at an astronomical 8% when it should really be a lot lower than that (even though 1% is too many lives to lose). That statistic is determined by dividing the no. of people who died from the virus by the no. of positive cases. The highness of the death rate statistic is an indicator that the ACTUAL no. of people out there in the community who have/had the virus and are shedding the virus is way, way, higher than the statistic shows. This is because so few people are being tested, so there isn’t an accurate number of positive cases. Social distancing and preventive measures to keep from coughing, spitting, or sneezing the virus on other people is the only thing that helps slow down the spread. This is not an unneeded panic or foolishness. 29 people in this area did not die from “just the flu” in the last month. My family members and I fall into high risk groups (actually a very high % of people do). Yes, there were many mistakes and inconsistencies in how and when the federal government and organizations dealt with this from the get-go. Gov. Pritzker has dealt with this intelligently and admirably. Perhaps the biggest problem has been the ignorance of the DENIERS, which has greatly contributed to the spread of this disease. I don’t want to get it if I can at all help it. People’s lives (in any age group or socio-economic status) are valuable.


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