ALFRED, Maine — York County Sheriff Bill King said an act of civil disobedience by about 30 inmates at York County Jail on Wednesday night was broadcast to Sanford Regional Communications as a “riot,” resulting in officers from several local law enforcement agencies to respond to the jail.

King said at about 8:30 p.m. about 30 inmates from the jail’s largest housing unit refused to return to their cells. In a statement, King described the inmates’ actions an act of civil disobedience – he said they were passively non-compliant.

“The inmates were upset about recent operational changes at the jail,” said King. “The jail supervisor called for all available jail personnel to respond to monitor the situation. The Sanford Regional Communications Center was asked to notify the York County Sheriff’s Office Patrol Supervisor.”

“When the SRCC was contacted, the incident was mischaracterized as a “riot” which was communicated via radio to the patrol supervisor,” King continued. “As a result, several patrol deputies as well as other area law enforcement officers responded.”

Rural patrol deputies, Maine State Police, Sanford Police and others responded.

King said jail personnel were able to direct the inmates to return to their cells. All inmates were locked in at 9:20 p.m.

The housing unit has a capacity of 76 inmates.

“An investigation will be conducted and inmates who are identified as the instigators will face administrative sanctions,” the sheriff concluded.