Cross County, Missouri, Sheriff JR Smith announced Sept. 27 that he is adopting a "zero tolerance" policy against people dressing up as creepy clowns to scare folks.
Smith issued his warning on the Cross County Sheriff Facebook page:
I want to take time to comment and update all of you that we have received 1 report of an [alleged] sighting of 4 males dressed as a clown riding around in Wynne on west Meriaman St . I have received numerous calls and texts from citizens that have heard we have responded to numerous calls.
We have only received one call with that being said, I assure you that I will have a "ZERO TOLERANCE" to this. If someone wishes to dress up and conceal their identity with the intent to scare or harass our citizens they will be arrested and transported to the sheriff's office. Not one citizen should be or will be subjected to this act of foolishness.
Again, we only received one call however, I will not tolerate anyone engaging in this type of activity with the intention of causing public or personal fear to our citizens. Thank you for your continued support and the opportunity to be your Sheriff!
According to WMC, some people asked on Facebook if dressing up as a clown was actually a crime, but Smith assured them that normal clown entertainment was still legal: "We're not talking about someone dressed as clown such as Bozo."
However, one defiant Facebook commenter wrote: "I have half mind to drive to cross county dressed as clown right now and stand in front of your office. You took an oath to uphold the constitution sir and you would be wise to not violate that or you will end up costing the citizens of your county a lot of money."
The sheriff replied: "Apparently you didn't read the post either no where does it say if your dressed as a clown its the actions you take as in to harrass and cause fear. Its the killer clowns thats being talked about not clowns in general dress as you want."