In the first few days of the state’s Safer at Home order, Verona police have had only had to enforce it a handful of times, police chief Bernie Coughlin told the Press on Tuesday, March 31.

As of Friday evening, March 27, he said, his department had seven calls related to the order – ranging from inquiries about businesses still open to groups of kids playing basketball outside.

“People are doing a good job of policing themselves and doing their part to prevent the spread of this virus,” Coughlin said.

The Safer at Home order, issued by Gov. Tony Evers on Tuesday, March 24, and effective Wednesday, March 25, requires Wisconsin residents to stay home and avoid gathering, with exemptions for essential services such as grocery store and pharmacy trips, doctor visits, taking care of sick or elderly loved ones. It does not require documents or special permission to travel.

A letter sent by Kristen Roman, president of the Dane County Chiefs of Police Association on March 25 said while police won’t conduct random stops of people traveling to and from their residences or essential businesses and services, they are empowered to enforce the order.

“If we receive information about large outdoor gatherings or become aware of someone or a group of individuals blatantly ignoring the order, we will take appropriate action to encourage compliance,” Roman said.

Possible penalties for violating the order include up to 30 days in jail and a $250 fine.

Coughlin told the Press that complaints about businesses in Verona should be sent by email to Complaints about individuals should be reported to the Verona Police Department at 845-7623.

Renee Hickman can be contacted at or follow her on Twitter at @ReneeNHickman