‘Governor’s order says we don’t have to’: East Lake fire commissioner arrested for not wearing mask


Monroe Co. Sheriff’s Office

EAST LAKE, Fla. (WFLA) — The commissioner for East Lake Fire Rescue was arrested in Key West last week for refusing to wear a face mask, a requirement in the city.

The Key West Police Department said James Dalrymple, 64, was leading a group of about 8-10 people on Duval Street just after 6 p.m. when approached by a city officer.

Officer L. Hernandez said he approached the group after noticing four of them not wearing face coverings.

“I approached the group and I said, ‘guys please put on a mask. In the City of Key West it’s required,'” he said.

Hernandez said Dalrymple turned around and said “the governor’s order says we do not have to.”

The officer then offered them complimentary face masks, to which Dalrymple declined and kept walking away.

Hernandez said he asked Dalrymple for his identification, to which he declined three times.

Hernandez placed handcuffs on Dalrymple and took him into custody for failure to wear a face covering, as required in the City of Key West Ordinance 20.18. He was transported to the Monroe County Detention Center.

East Lake Fire Rescue released the following statement after the incident:

For almost 50 years, the men and women who serve the public through East Lake Fire Rescue have been dedicated to the cause of public safety. We utilize our training to advance that through fire prevention, fire rescue, EMS, and other activities. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, ELFR has taken all appropriate steps to protect the public, including limiting access to fire station facilities to essential personnel and other preventive measures. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has consistently advised that the wearing of face masks is an effective way to prevent and limit the spread of COVID-19, and we fully support the CDC guidelines.

The safety and well-being of those we serve has been, and always will be, our number one priority.

East Lake Fire Rescue

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