Legal & Law Enforcement

This section of the Toolkit provides a detailed approach to legal considerations for I & Q planningand most specifically for involuntary detention during I & Q. It poses many questions that will need to be answered based on your state's laws. The Tools & Samples section offers usable forms that can be customized to fit the needs of most health jurisdictions.


Public Health agencies are vested with the legal authority to isolate or quarantine people for the good of public health. Voluntary compliance for isolation or quarantine is preferred but states have the authority to involuntarily detain individuals who pose a risk to the public health. In your state, Local Health Officers (LHO) may be responsible for establishing isolation and/or quarantine.

This section addresses the legal process for establishing involuntary detention for isolation and quarantine.

It is helpful to designate and train a legal team. Not everyone on the team needs to be an attorney; disease experts and administrative staff also are involved in the legal process. The team should be trained in the authorities, forms, and process. These persons may be needed to help prepare factual declarations, track due dates, and coordinate case-specific decision-making.


Having the correct forms drafted in advance will save time. Factual information about case(s) may be added quickly and by hand, if necessary. King County's forms are in the Tools & Samples section.