Coronavirus roundup for April 1st: Marriage licenses suspended; State totals; Decatur officials clarify enforcement

Clerk suspends marriage license applications

The Bartholomew County Clerk’s office is no longer accepting marriage license applications. The clerk’s office announced several changes to its operating procedures two weeks ago in reaction to the COVID-19 threat.

At the time, Bartholomew County Clerk Jay Phelps said his office would only be accepting marriage license applications by appointment and during limited times.

However with the change announced yesterday, the office is no longer accepting the applications at all. The office will revisit the decision after after April 6th and alert the public to any changes.

Other changes remaining in effect include:

Those making child support payments should use the drop box inside the courthouse doors on Third Street. Child support payments are cash only. You can also use the drop box to make criminal restitution and judgment payments. Those can be cash or money order and you must include your cause number.

You can make criminal payments online through the state as well as pay traffic tickets.

State count shows 2,500+ COVID-19 cases

The Indiana State Department of Health is reporting 2,565 positive COVID-19 test results as of this morning’s daily update and 65 deaths from the disease across the state. So far there have been 14,375 tests completed for the disease by the health department.

Bartholomew County has 13 reported cases.

Decatur County has 48 confirmed cases. 17 cases are reported in Jennings and 19 in Shelby Counties, 10 in Jackson County and 3 in Brown County. Johnson County has 118 confirmed cases.

Marion County leads the state with 1,117 confirmed cases.

Decatur County officials clarify enforcement of travel warning

Decatur County officials released a statement on the enforcement of the local disaster emergency order and travel warning that goes into effect Thursday morning:

Decatur County Prosecuting Attorney Nate Harter, together with Sheriff Dave Durant, Greensburg Mayor Joshua Marsh, Greensburg Police Chief Brendan Bridges, and President of the County Commissioners Rick Nobbe, issue the following statement regarding enforcement of recent emergency declarations by the Decatur County Commissioners, the Decatur County Health Department, and the Decatur County Emergency Management Agency.

The County Commissioners have issued a declaration of local disaster emergency and local travel warning under Indiana Code 10-14-3-29 and -29.5. This severely limits travel to include only the most essential functions such as emergency management workers, healthcare providers, and food providers. Individuals are directed to:

  • refrain from all travel, except as permitted in the declaration
  • comply with necessary emergency measures;
  • cooperate with public officials and disaster services forces in executing emergency operations plans; and
  • obey and comply with the lawful directions of properly identified officers.

Pursuant to Indiana Code 10-14-3-34, knowing, intentional, or reckless violation of this emergency order is a Class B misdemeanor, punishable by 0-180 days in the Decatur County Jail, and a fine of up to $1,000.00.

As the chief law enforcement officer in the county, it is the job of the prosecuting attorney to enforce the above laws. Law enforcement agencies in Decatur County will continue their hard work to disrupt criminal activity. Officers are not out looking for violators of the above declarations and ordinances, but if- while investigating traffic violations, existing curfew violations, or crimes- they happen to find that the subjects are in violation of the travel restrictions, they will report those violations to the prosecuting attorney, who will review the facts for filing criminal and/or civil charges. There may be occasions in which law enforcement investigate gatherings and activities that pose a danger of spreading the disease. The criminal justice system is not looking for arrests, but residents who break the law are putting others at risk. There must be accountability and consequences to such recklessness in order to protect our vulnerable populations and the public servants who risk their health for our safety.

Decatur County Prosecuting Attorney Nate Harter wants to recognize the County Commissioners, Health Department Director Sean Durbin, Decatur County Memorial Hospital CEO Rex McKinney, and Emergency Management Agency Director Brad Speer for their hard work toward containing this outbreak. Making the conscious decision to limit the freedom of their friends and neighbors cannot have been an easy decision, or one they took lightly. Harter further wants to express his gratitude to the dispatchers, EMTs, doctors, nurses, firemen, jailers, law enforcement, and others who continue to serve, even at the risk of their own health, in order to protect our safety.

Said Harter, This community faces a tremendous challenge, and we will be measured by how we come together and unify behind caring for our friends, family, and neighbors. While there will be suffering ahead of us, we must address this hardship together, with grit and grace toward one another. In a time of crisis, the rule of law becomes even more important. That is why I am dedicated to enforcing the restrictions enacted by our locally elected officials. If you have to be out for essential purposes like obtaining food or medical treatment, at least do so using social distancing and proper hygiene. If you dont have to be out, stay home. Its temporarily the law, and it is also the right thing to do.

/s/ Nathan W. Harter IV
Decatur County Prosecuting Attorney

/s/ David K. Durant
Decatur County Sheriff

/s/ Rick J. Nobbe
President, Decatur County Commissioners

/s/ Joshua L. Marsh
Mayor, City of Greensburg

/s/ Brendan Bridges
Chief of Greensburg Police Department