Wireless Emergency Alert Scheduled for Tuesday, Dec. 8, did not make Inyo County Sheriff happy.

Issued state-wide wireless emergency alert on state’s Stay-At-Home Order as hospitals and ICU beds fill to capacity.

California officials on Tuesday, December 8, sent out an emergency phone alert to mobile phones statewide to inform county residents about the state’s Regional Stay-at-Home Order. The alert urged residents to stay home and that “COVID-19 is spreading rapidly.”

While some  questioned its use, the fact is, it is well within the state’s authority to use the system in the manner it did, especially given the drastic measures that are now being taken across the state to cope with the COVID-19 pandemic raging in the state that is seeing some communities at 100% hospitalizations and ICU beds.

There is no evidence that the WEA had a negative impact on 9-1-1 Call Centers or created confusion on local Code Red Alerts. If anything, today’s alarm appeared to have been met by the public with a collective yawn.

The Wireless Emergency Alert (WEA) was sent in the following Southern California counties: Imperial, Inyo, Los Angeles, Mono, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, and Ventura.

Again, there is no evidence whatsoever that the use of the WEA, especially in this instance, has “conflicted” or been confused with Code Red Alert systems used in counties nor has it resulted in the “flood of calls to 9-1-1” that could overwhelm local EMS, law enforcement or other emergency response.  If anything, it appears that most of the public has enough intelligence to tell the difference between the different types of alerts they  receive over their mobile phones.

Inyo County Sheriff Jeff Hollowell voiced disagreement over state’s use of WEA to Californians in selected counties to follow state-wide Stay-At-Home Order.

There was a clear difference between how Sheriff Jeff Hollowell in Inyo County and Sheriff Ingrid Braun in Mono County responded to the announcement by the state that it was going to issue the alert. Hollowell appeared to make what, to some, was yet another political statement questioning the authority of the state as they attempt to control the current COVID-19 pandemic as he has in the past on the health order on enforcement of wearing face coverings and unauthorized gatherings, while Sheriff Braun simply notified the residents in Mono County that the WEA was going to take place without comment.

The state’s OES is concerned over the most recent statistics on COVID-19, including data on intensive care unit (ICU) capacity. Southern California has dropped below 15% capacity which has triggered the regional stay-at-home orders. Several counties in California are at 100% capacity, hence the urgency being shown at the state level.


Following is the press announcement from the Inyo County Sheriff’s Office:

Press Release from Inyo County Sheriff questions state’s use of the WEA, although the state has every right to do so.

Press Release: INYO COUNTY SHERIFF, December 8, 2020 – The State of California, Office of Emergency Services, pursuant to the Governor’s Order will be issuing a WEA (Wireless Emergency Alert) text today at noon.  This alert will go out to all Counties who are under a “Stay at Home” order.

State Sheriffs were advised yesterday (Dec. 7) at 4:30pm of the alert. Even though Emergency Managers and Law Enforcement were not involved in the discussions regarding the alert, we were informed we had no control.  Across this state, Emergency Managers and Law Enforcement are dealing with potential Public Safety Power Shutoffs, Red Flag warnings and the potential for wildland fires.  We urged the Governor not to conduct the alert as the message could be conflicting with emergency evacuation orders.  WEA is supposed to be used for emergencies.

The primary concern is the potential for conflicting alerts if an actual emergency occurs.  If you receive the WEA, please do not call 9-1-1 or County offices for clarifications.  You can call the California Office of Emergency Services at (916) 845- 8510.

The Inyo County Sheriff’s Office will continue to advise citizens and visitors via Code Red, IPAWS (Integrated Public Alert Warning Service), or WEA in the event of an emergency.  The message will clearly state it’s from the Sheriff’s Office.


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22 Responses to Wireless Emergency Alert Scheduled for Tuesday, Dec. 8, did not make Inyo County Sheriff happy.

  1. ~Sami December 11, 2020 at 9:25 am #

    The Sheriffs are too busy adding more Thin Blue Line patches to their gear to actually protect the citizens of Inyo..

  2. InyoFace2 December 10, 2020 at 9:18 am #

    Sheriff is clown, doesn’t know the meaning of professionalism. Taking advantage of our county and veterans. Should be ashamed of himself and we the people of the county should hold him accountable. We the people need to be more active and make sure our elected officials don’t act like authoritarians and choose what parts of their job they do. It’s above your pay grade sheriff, quite making a fuss about alerts and do your job. So much energy spent on nonsense.

  3. BobK December 9, 2020 at 3:22 pm #

    Charles: Look up the definition of emergency. I don’t think that this quite fits. Don’t pick out just the parts that you like.

    • Charles O. Jones December 10, 2020 at 12:52 pm #

      Day before yesterday a record breaking 219 of our fellow Californians died from Covid19. That was just one day. There are currently over 11,000 hospitalized in California with this virus.

      Find someone else to quibble semantics with, Bob.

    • Stop non-essential travel December 11, 2020 at 8:03 am #

      Bob K, do your research. it is a PERFECT fit: From the FCC website: “The Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau reminds authorized alert originators that the Wireless Emergency Alert system is available as a tool during the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic.” I think you owe Charles James an apology for your snarkiness. He does his research.

  4. Low December 9, 2020 at 3:16 pm #

    I voted for this Sheriff when he ran last. Won’t be doing that a second time. The Sheriff’s department is a public safety agency and he seems to fail at realizing that. He’s supposed to be supporting the message of safety and health. And now he’s putting his political beliefs before his public duty that he swore to do under oath.

    Does he not realize that by not enforcing good healthy practices to battle COVID, he’s hurting businesses and people’s health? Businesses have had to close and they’ve been impacted, along with residents health because his agency is not responding to gathering and masking calls as he said he wouldn’t in his past announcement.

    Maybe if everyone took this virus more seriously, we wouldn’t be shutting down the county again which is severely impacting the economy here.

  5. Allyourbusinessbelongtous December 9, 2020 at 1:12 pm #

    Nothing but cool aid guzzling commentors on this site. Wake up people.. the state had BILLIONS of dollars in CARES Act funds and nine months to have AMPLE ICU capacity and trained hospital staff for their well known and anticipated second wave

    The state and all its blind followers are all a bunch of incompetent idiots.


    • Stop non-essential travel December 12, 2020 at 11:00 am #

      Trained hospital staff in nine months ? just how long do you think it takes to get “staff” hired and trained ? we’re not talking hiring and training extra baristas here ….. it would have been a lot easier for people to mask up and the president to man up.

  6. InyoArabians December 9, 2020 at 12:21 pm #

    When is this good-for-nothing Sheriff up for reelection again?

  7. Dean December 9, 2020 at 12:18 pm #

    Remember this, and so much more, at reelection time.

  8. David Dennison December 9, 2020 at 9:17 am #

    I don’t want to sound mean,angry or disrespectful,but speaking for myself,I’ve never had a cell phone,smart phone or a “mobile app”….whatever that is…just an old fashion land line telephone and 1980’s answering machine to check when I get home from work….
    I have trouble understanding why people,this day and age,seem to need,and with this case and contraversary,some actually get upset about these “warnings”,either getting them,not getting them,the time of day they get them.
    Do people REALLY need them ?
    These “warnings” sent out,whether it be COVID warnings,snow warnings,wind warnings,fire danger warnings,etc.,makes me wonder how I’ve survived as long as I have without them.
    I found funny,a few months ago,a friend told me he got a “mobile app” earthquake warning.
    AFTER that 5.8 Lone Pine earthquake.
    Yep….I felt it…my truck was bouncing around where I was parked at the time,when I got home lots of stuff fell off my shelves.
    I didn’t need a smart phone call or “app” telling me it happened.

  9. Charles O. Jones December 9, 2020 at 8:48 am #

    From Inyo County Sheriff Press Release:
    “WEA is supposed to be used for emergencies.”

    As of the day this press release was written:
    285,000+ deaths in the USA
    20,000+ deaths in California
    16 deaths in Inyo County

    Is there any other scenario where this many deaths in a 9 month period, attributed to one cause, wouldn’t be considered an emergency to Inyo County Sheriff?

    • Harold December 9, 2020 at 10:57 am #

      Good to know how important our lives are to the Sheriff.

    • Low December 9, 2020 at 3:22 pm #

      It’s not just about deaths, it’s about the infections which are at 300+. Some of these infections will result in long term health issues. It’s a public safety issue. People make full recoveries from colds, flus, and other types of viruses. That won’t be the case with COVID for some.

  10. Steve December 9, 2020 at 8:22 am #

    Leaders in denial are not leading they are fallowing.

  11. Don't Think Twice December 9, 2020 at 5:35 am #

    Good on ya, Jeff and Ingrid!

    SNAFU x 2.

    COVID – allowed by our mad President to spread about the land – is the “hard rain” that Bob Dylan predicted.

    • Tinner December 9, 2020 at 3:52 pm #

      Don’t Think Twice, good grief, man.
      “…our mad President to spread about the land” Really?
      Why are you trying to sound all poetic?
      One more time just for fun, “…to spread about the land”
      LAME and hilarious at the same time.

      • Don't Think Twice December 11, 2020 at 9:21 am #

        “I saw ten thousand talkers whose tongues were all broken”

        • Charles James December 11, 2020 at 9:56 am #

          “I met one man who was wounded in love
          I met another man who was wounded in hatred”

          • Don't Think Twice December 13, 2020 at 5:52 am #


            Trump clearly doesn’t care about thousands of Black people dying of COVID.

            What bothers him is when they vote in such numbers

          • Charles James December 13, 2020 at 10:25 am #

            Don’t think twice,
            The quote is only a lyric from a well-known Bob Dylan song and it was not intended as a political statement to your rather, admittedly, clever original riposte, although the lyrics ring true enough considering the hatred that seems to have gripped our national politics. Not everything in our national life needs to be reduced to politics, in fact, I would argue against allowing it to be reduced to that level.

            “Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar”…and has nothing to do with Trump or the sad state of our political discourse, which is clearly putting party politics and political power above love of country and the best interests of ALL Americans.

  12. VillageWitch December 9, 2020 at 5:33 am #

    The first time I ever cast a vote I regretted was for Jeff Hollowell! He needs to keep his personal political preferences at home locked in the closet. Inyo county no longer has an veteran administrator or a competent Sheriff.


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