Ohio police department asks crooks to follow 'freeze tag' rules amid coronavirus: No 'tag backs'

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An Ohio police department cheekily asked criminals to adhere to “freeze tag” rules during the coronavirus pandemic Thursday, sharing a photo of a police K-9 wearing an N95 mask that would make it difficult to bite a fleeing suspect.

“Due to the current situation, we are making a request to all criminals that are either in North Ridgeville or may be in the near future,” the North Ridgeville Police Department wrote on Facebook.

The department jokingly claimed its K-9s find it “difficult to fully function in their apprehension duties” with face masks on.

“If one of our K-9s touches you, you are then frozen until an officer puts handcuffs on you, at which time you are unfrozen,” the post continued. “If there is more than one criminal fleeing, you’re allowed to unfreeze each other, but again, if the dogs touch you then you must re-freeze.”

The light-hearted post also declared: “Under no circumstances are tag backs allowed.”

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It comes as authorities continue to urge social distancing and other precautions -- like wearing face coverings in public places -- in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19.

As of Thursday afternoon, there were more than 14,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Ohio and 656 deaths, according to Gov. Mike DeWine. Across the U.S., there have been more than 850,000 confirmed cases and over 47,000 deaths.

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DeWine tweeted Thursday that the true number of cases is “most certainly higher” due to the limited amount of tests available.

He also said at his daily press briefing that the state would make an announcement on Monday regarding its plans to reopen the economy.