La Grande Police Department and Union County Sheriff’s Office released a letter to the community on Wednesday, to address the concerns about enforcing executive orders from the Governor, and staying safe during this current health crisis.

To our community members,

Both the La Grande Police Department and Union County Sheriff’s Office have received several phone calls regarding questions about the Governor’s Executive Orders addressing the Covid-19 pandemic. It is important for our community members to know that it is not the appropriate role for local law enforcement agencies to interpret executive orders. Most of the questions we receive are asking us to do just that.

The Oregon State Police released a frequently asked questions document today and we have disseminated that via several sources. It can be found at http://union-countv.orq/faq

We support the answers that were given and believe this is a good document to refer to for guidance. What we can also offer everyone is some general commentary on our enforcement philosophy and prioritization. Please remember that we are all members of this community and our relationships run deep and wide here.

Every one of our officers and deputies have sworn an oath to support the United States Constitution and we take that oath very seriously. We perform our services with that foundation as the cornerstone of what we do and we recognize that the constitution is the highest lawful authority in our country. We also believe in a philosophy of enforcing the spirit of the law, not every technical nuance of the law. We support our officers and deputies in exercising well-reasoned discretion and common sense in their application of enforcement especially for low level crimes and violations.

We prioritize calls on a basis of those that pose an immediate danger to persons are the highest priority followed by immediate danger to property as generally the next priority. After that there is a far range of calls for service that may be prioritized at different levels on a case by case basis. Our agencies will continue to address all of these priority calls just as we always have.

In times like this rumors and speculation often run rampant via social media platforms. Our pledge to you is we will continue to provide any significant updates regarding the Police Department and Sheriff’s Office through the Joint Information Center and our respective websites so you can be assured of accurate information. The Joint Information Center is on Facebook at NE Oregon Join Information Center. Information is also available at: http://lagrandepolicedept.org or https://unioncountysheriff.us

We ask that all of us be good stewards of the citizenship we are blessed to partake in. Please follow the “spirit” of the social distancing executive orders to help us all slow the rate of spread of this pandemic. More than ever this is a time for unity and mutual support and helping each other as neighbors. We ask that everyone do their part for the greater good.

It is an honor for both of us and all the members of our teams to serve you, the people, and we will remain steadfast in doing so.

– Chief Brian Harvey
– Sheriff boyd Rasmussen