Law enforcement and the courts in Yakima and Kittitas counties are adjusting in response to the COVID -19 outbreak.
Yakima Police Department officers are physically responding only to serious calls and encouraging the public report low-level crime online or by phone.
The Yakima County Sheriff’s Office has suspended fingerprinting people seeking businesses licenses, gun permits and other licenses until further notice.
And jury service has been canceled in Kittitas County Superior Court until April 10.
Yakima police are limiting physical response to priority calls in an effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Police are asking residents to make reports on nonpriority calls online or by phone, the department announced in a Monday news release.
Nonpriority calls are those in which a crime is not in progress or wouldn’t result in the immediate apprehension of a suspect, the release said.
Reports can be made online at
www.yakimapolice.org/copligic/ or by phone at 509-575-6200 during regular business hours.
In the news release, Police Chief Matthew Murray encouraged the public to use the department’s online and telephone reporting systems as much as possible.
“Please keep calling for assistance. We will be ready to assist. However, it may look different, like an officer calling to take a report by phone or asking you to complete an online report rather than an in-person connection,” Murray said.
Yakima County Sheriff’s deputies are still answering calls as normal, but are taking some precautions, spokesman Casey Schilperoort said.
They are offered non-latex gloves, eye protection and masks. “They decide when to wear them,” Schilperoort said.
The office is only fingerprinting registered sex offenders at this time, he said.
Typically the office fingerprints applicants for real estate and businesses licenses, among other professionals requiring licenses.
Applicants will have to wait until the office resumes the service or find another agency or a private company that hasn’t suspended fingerprinting, Schilperoort said.
Business appeared normal Monday in Yakima County Superior Court, but that wasn’t the case for Kittitas Superior Court, where jury services have been suspended.
Those summoned for jury duty on March 17, 24, 31 and April 7 do not need to call or come to the courthouse, court officials announced Monday.