Sheriff's Office


Emergency Management




A. Under emergency/disaster conditions, law enforcement activities are the responsibility of the local law enforcement agency within each jurisdiction. In unincorporated Thurston County, the Sheriff will exercise police authority.

B. Law enforcement units supplied by other levels of government will remain under the command of their parent agency but will operate under the direction and control of the Thurston County Incident Commander.


A. General law enforcement problems are compounded by disaster related community disruption.

B. The capabilities of local law enforcement agencies may be strained or exceeded. Supplemental assistance shall be requested through local and state emergency management channels.


In time of an emergency/disaster, law enforcement agencies shall be called upon to perform a wide range of functions, including, but not limited to: warning and evacuation; search and rescue; emergency transportation; emergency communications; control of disaster site access; looting control; crowd control; emergency traffic control; and damage assessment.

A. Law Enforcement agencies presently available for emergency operations in Thurston County consist of:

B. The Sheriff's Office, in addition to having 24-hour operational capability, has two-way radio communication links between its respective mobile units and the county EOC. This becomes a valuable resource during a disaster situation. (See ESF #2 Communications and Warning for communication frequencies available.)

C. If an emergency occurs within unincorporated Thurston County, the Thurston County Sheriff's Office will exercise overall authority for law enforcement activities and responsibilities.

D. Law enforcement units, with the use of their sirens and public address systems, may be used to disseminate warning and emergency information.

E. The Mutual Aid Act (Washington Laws of 1985, Chapter 89, Section 7(1)) provides law enforcement with mutual assistance capabilities between jurisdictions.

F. The Washington State Patrol may provide a representative to the Thurston County EOC to coordinate disaster law enforcement activities between local, district, and state law enforcement agencies, if available.


A. Local

1. Sheriff's Office

The Sheriff's Office will provide the following:

a. Notify the Emergency Program Manager of major police emergencies. Notification of the County Commissioners will be at the discretion of the Commanding Officers.

b. Coordinate ground and water search and rescue operations within Thurston County, in conjunction with the law enforcement agency within each respective political subdivision, and using paid, reserve, and volunteer personnel.

c. Control traffic during and after emergencies and disaster; and maintain access and egress routes.

d. Maintain order in and around emergency/disaster scene; safeguard property in and around scene. Investigate all crimes committed.

e. Provide a representative to the County EOC as requested. Provide security for the EOC if necessary.

f. Recommend the evacuation of endangered population. Inform the public of evacuation orders including, but not limited to: door-to-door notification of persons in affected area, and warning the public through the use of mobile public address systems. Provide security to evacuated property, if resources are available.

g. Assist the coroner in necessary investigation, identification, recovery and management of deceased persons.

h. Maintain necessary mutual aid agreements with other jurisdictions for law enforcement services.

i. Provide incident documentation, reports, and financial information.

2. Emergency Management

a. Activate EOC and issue emergency warning(s).

b. Provide the means for coordinating capabilities, resources, and assets necessary to alleviate disaster impacts on citizens and public entities caused by an emergency or disaster.

c. Coordinate documentation of emergency activities and recovery of funds.

3. City Law Enforcement Agencies

a. Provide law enforcement support as in mutual aid agreements.

b. Provide a decision-making representative to the Command Post or the EOC at the request of the Incident Commander or Emergency Program Manager.

c. Provide warning and communication support.

4. Public Information

Coordinate all public information and instructions and media relations as defined in ESF #31 Public Information.

B. State

1. State Emergency Management

Serves as the central point of contact for local government requests for specific state and federal disaster resources and services.

2. Washington State Patrol

a. Assist the local Emergency Management, County Sheriff, and City Police in law enforcement operations.

b. Coordinate and maintain liaison with the appropriate state departments, as identified in the Washington State Comprehensive Emergency Management Plan.

c. Provide warning and communications support.

3. All Law Enforcement Agencies

Support recovery operations as defined in agency Emergency Operation Procedures (EOPs) and Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) or as requested by the Thurston County EOC, to include:

a. Maintaining post emergency/disaster security patrols.

b. Controlling re-entry.

c. Assisting in damage assessment activities.


A. Thurston County Sheriff's Office Policy Manual

B. EOC Manual

C. Mutual Aid Act (Washington Laws of 1985, Chapter 89, Section 7 [1])

D. Washington State Comprehensive Emergency Management Plan