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Calloway County Sheriff Responds To Criticism On Social Distancing, Masks At Swearing In

Calloway County Fiscal Court

Newly-inaugurated Calloway County Sheriff Nicky Knight is responding to criticism about non-compliance with Governor Andy Beshear’s mask mandate at his swearing-in ceremony. 

Knight was sworn in Monday morning in a ceremony where photos appeared to show dozens of people close together without face coverings.

Social media users criticized Knight and the Calloway County Fiscal Court for allowing public employees to disobey state and federal public health guidance. Knight said his deputies aren’t required to wear masks while on duty. 

“It is their option. And the reason is some of our guys wear glasses. Masks tend to fog up glasses and it’s an officer safety issue if we have to go hands on with somebody with a mask getting up around our eyes,” Knight explained. 

Knight said the refusal to wear masks by attendees of the investiture was not coordinated and not meant to be malicious.

“It wasn’t anything done consciously,” Knight said. “It’s their choice. They were on duty and when they’re on duty they’re not required to wear a mask. They were getting paid to be there because it was mandatory that they were there.”

The photos also show Judge/Executive Kenny Imes administering the oaths of office to Knight and the deputies. Knight said Imes maintains different policies for his staff, but would not comment on the content of those policies.

“I can’t speak for somebody else. I know at the fiscal court meetings, I think they wear masks...I told them [deputies] they needed to be there. If they wanted to put on a mask, they could have.”

Knight said he personally wears a mask when off-duty and in public.

Dalton York is a Morning Edition host and reporter for WKYU in Bowling Green. He is a graduate of Murray State University, where he majored in History with a minor in Nonprofit Leadership Studies. While attending Murray State, he worked as a student reporter at WKMS. A native of Marshall County, he is a proud product of his tight-knit community.
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