Yakima County Sheriff Robert Udell has written a letter to Yakima County residents about the COVID-19 pandemic.

"The COVID-19 has introduced many controversial rules from governors and mayors around the country. No doubt driven by a desire to keep people safe, we on the other hand swore an oath to protect and defend the Constitution of our country. There are those that wish us to intervene, even arrest, people who are not abiding by rules set down by Olympia. However, to do so would often put us in direct conflict with the rights enumerated in the Constitution. Our agency will not detain, cite, or arrest anyone for any action against a rule that introduces conflict with the Constitution. We will do everything we can to keep people safe from COVID or any other threat, while staying within the supreme law of this land. Our primary goal will continue to be helping people follow the suggested safe health practices.

Our governor has issued proclamations aimed at keeping the state safe from disease. He has directed state agencies to enforce certain rules, but there has been no push for local law enforcement to actively be involved in enforcing the proclamations beyond education. We will continue to help educate people we contact on how they can stay safe, but our agency will not treat violations of the proclamations criminally. Any changes in that stance will be sent out.

This situation is temporary. Things will go back to normal, and it is essential that we get through it while respecting the rights of everyone in this county. Doing so will keep the trust of those who we serve.

-Sheriff Udell"