Police Chief's Statement Regarding "Stay Home" Order

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Mar 24, 2020

Dear Mercer Island Community,

Your police department is working hard to ensure public safety during this difficult time. We want to emphasize education over enforcement during this "Stay at Home" order from the Governor. We have been discussing this with the Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs and with our regional law enforcement agencies.

Law enforcement's primary role is to help educate people about how to comply with orders to stay at home. We are not being asked to detain, arrest, ticket or establish checkpoints for compliance. Rumors of strict law enforcement or "martial law" are not true.

We will focus on educating residents on how to keep themselves safe, how to keep their families safe and most importantly, to keep the rest of the community safe, especially our vulnerable populations.

We understand some people need to carry out essential services such as:

1. Safety and security
2. Food, water, shelter
3. Health and medical
4. Energy (power and fuel)
5. Communications
6. Transportation

Most in our community have shown they understand the severity of the situation and are doing what they can to keep themselves, their families, and neighbors safe and healthy.

When officers encounter people not complying with an order, we will remind them, as appropriate, of the recommendations and restrictions. No law enforcement agencies have any desire to make any arrests or take anybody to jail for violations. Rumors of individuals or businesses needing "passes" or "licenses" to conduct essential services are not true.

Rest assured we will continue to serve you every minute of every day and we will always enforce the laws that keep people safe.

Do your part and Stay Home, Save Lives.

Thank you,

Mercer Island Police Chief Ed Holmes

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