Sergeant Harrison Yates is the lead detective of the Park County Police Force and as far as we know, the highest-ranked police officer in Park County. He is usually accompanied by his partner Mitch Murphy or generic police officers.
He first appeared as a member of the FBI, but has since been seen as part of the Park County Police, a role he has consistently kept in the series since then.
Although never being extremely prominent, he has played a major role in many episodes. In "The Jeffersons", when Michael Jackson (also known as Mr. Jefferson) moves into South Park, it is revealed that Yates hates all black men wealthier than himself and frames them — but panics and becomes disillusioned when he realizes that "Mr. Jefferson" is black despite his "white appearance". He discovers Jefferson is indeed black, but when he decides he will give away all of his money, Yates lets him go, having no need to put another poor black man in jail.
In "Cartman's Incredible Gift", when a serial killer strikes South Park, Yates becomes convinced that Cartman has psychic powers that can capture the killer and dismisses proven science such as fingerprinting and blood analysis as "Hocus Pocus". As a result, he arrests and even kills a number of innocent people based on Cartman's alleged "psychic visions", failing to identify the killer as such when he first investigates him, despite an overabundance of evidence.
In "Miss Teacher Bangs a Boy", Kyle reports to Yates and the cops that the Kindergarten teacher, Ms. Stevenson, is in a relationship with his younger brother, Ike. It is shown that Yates and his pals, like all the other men in South Park do not see anything wrong with women committing sex crimes like this one. At one point he remarked that he would have gladly hooked up with a sexed-up teacher when he was a kid, again proving to be more of a hindrance than anything else to the case.
In "Butters' Bottom Bitch", he went undercover as a prostitute after learning of an increase in South Park prostitutes. Though it was obvious when he was a man in drag (he retained his male sexual organs, his mustache and his hairy body), no one seemed to notice this or at least chose to ignore it. He also is unaware of the fact he doesn't need to have sex with the Johns to arrest them for soliciting prostitution, something that creeps out the rest of his squad. He seems to take his role so seriously that he not only has sex with his Johns, he also is involved in a bareback gang-bang with dozens of Alpha Tau Omega fraternity men at the college, and he also "falls in love" with his pimp, runs off to Switzerland, is married for a year, before at last arresting him.
In "The Coon", Yates is the primary police officer approached by Cartman in the guise of the Coon. While he seems to see the Coon as an annoyance and tells him to leave, Yates praises the assistance and work of the town's other hero, Mysterion, despite neither hero doing much to assist the police force themselves and the lack of response by them to either hero.
Yates has orange hair, an orange mustache, and thick orange eyebrows. He wears a white button-up shirt, black tie, black suspenders, gold watch, a belt with a gold buckle, and in a brown leather holster his stainless Smith and Wesson 5900-series pistol with wood grips (as does his partner Mitch Murphy, indicating this is most likely the standard issue duty sidearm for South Park PD) As a prostitute, he wore a short red skirt, a red bra and a blonde wig.
Yates appears to be rather gullible and believes in the supernatural, and often wastes time by conducting extremely trivial investigations. He seems to enjoy letting other people solve crimes for him, be they supposed psychic mediums, the Hardly Boys, Butters Stotch or Mysterion (Kenny). He is also stupid (possibly slightly more so than Officer Barbrady) racist and misogynistic, the last two of which he is perfectly willing to misuse the law to satisfy. Like most other South Park citizens, however, he does not notice these negative traits or rather believes they are good. His microscopic intelligence is showcased when it took him (presumably) hours of extensive research to understand that a left hand remains as such, regardless of the angle of which it's seen. There is a great possibility that he is a closet homosexual or at least bisexual as depicted in "Butters' Bottom Bitch" where he takes his prostitute role way too seriously and marries his pimp in order to arrest him. In "Naughty Ninjas" he suggests he "might even kiss a dude" while hula dancing.
He is married to Maggie Yates, who shares his views on rich black men, as she supported him in "The Jeffersons". Ironically, in "Butters' Bottom Bitch" he engages in a long term affair with a wealthy black man, citing him to be his "pimp".
He has an unnamed son, mentioned in "Cartman's Incredible Gift".
- In "Cartman's Incredible Gift", Yates is called Lou at one point. He is also sometimes called Detective Harris, which is the name Trey uses in scripts. The name Harrison Yates was restored in "You're Not Yelping", suggesting 'Harris' is a nickname.
- His undercover name was Yolanda in "Butters' Bottom Bitch".
- Like, all police officers in South Park, Yates hates wealthy African Americans. However, he seems to have no issue with their race when they are poor.
- In "The Coon", Yates essentially plays the role of Commissioner Gordon to Cartman's super-hero identity, The Coon, and to Kenny's super-hero identity, Mysterion.
- Yates was originally shown working for the FBI in "Christian Rock Hard" and then the South Park Police Department in "Casa Bonita". He was also shown handling a case in Denver in "Free Willzyx".
- His voice is identical to Lieutenant Dawson's from "Lil' Crime Stoppers".
- Yates shoots Michael Deets twice in the face. A detective in "Miss Teacher Bangs a Boy" claims to have shot a man in the face twice, possibly taking credit for Yates' deed.
- Yates has spoken in every season since his introduction in Season Seven.
- He and Officer Barbrady were never seen together between "Casa Bonita" and "Medicinal Fried Chicken", and never interacted onscreen until "The City Part of Town", after co-existing for over a decade. They seem to be on friendly terms.
- In the commentary for Season Nineteen, Trey suggests the introduction of Yates and his police department and the phasing out of Officer Barbrady was an intentional choice, as they felt Barbrady was no longer in line with comedy after the nineties.
- "Lil' Crime Stoppers" - Possible unspeaking role, shaved esque?
- "Christian Rock Hard" - Shows Stan, Kyle and Kenny what happens to famous people who download their music.
- "Casa Bonita" - Tries to find Butters and arrests Eric Cartman for Butters' abduction.
- "The Jeffersons"
- "Cartman's Incredible Gift" - Works with Eric Cartman and Kyle Broflovski to solve numerous murders.
- "The Death of Eric Cartman" - Talks to the escape convicts who are holding people hostage.
- "Mr. Garrison's Fancy New Vagina" (shaved esque re-appears)
- "Free Willzyx" - Tries to solve the disappearance of a whale which The Boys stole after they thought the whale could talk.
- "Mystery of the Urinal Deuce"
- "Miss Teacher Bangs a Boy" - Investigates a sexual relationship between Ike Broflovski and Ms. Stevenson.
- "Cartman Sucks" - Cartman goes to him when he cannot find a picture of him and Butters.
- "Britney's New Look" (background) - Seen taking photos of Britney Spears along with many other people.
- "Eek, A Penis!" - Helps Mr Garrison find his penis.
- "The China Probrem" - Refuses to purse the Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of Crystal Skull case because he has not seen the film.
- "The Coon"
- "Butters' Bottom Bitch" - Seen going undercover as a prostitute, after learning about a prostitution ring forming in South Park.
- "Medicinal Fried Chicken" (background) - Seen while Officer Barbrady gives a speech.
- "It's a Jersey Thing" (background)
- "Royal Pudding" - Tells Mr. Mackey that tooth decay is gone.
- "City Sushi" - Tells Stephen Stotch that his son caused a war between City Wok and City Sushi.
- "A Nightmare on Face Time" - Investigates a robbery with the help of the Stan Marsh.
- "Informative Murder Porn" - He and other police officers investigate the murder of a woman.
- "The Magic Bush" - Thomas Tucker and Laura Tucker go to him to get the drone issue under control.
- "Cock Magic" - He was called Detective Harris in this episode.
- "#HappyHolograms" - He was also called Detective Harris in this episode.
- "The City Part of Town"
- "You're Not Yelping" - Goes overboard with yelper reviews.
- "Naughty Ninjas" - He and the rest of the South Park Police refuse to enforce the law after Officer Barbrady is fired.
- "PC Principal Final Justice"- Seen in the crowd of people standing in front of the Whole Foods Market.
- "Not Funny" - Seen giving a press conference to the people of South Park about the impending dangers of TrollTrace.com.
Yates appears in the police office as a "friendable" friend. He sends the player to collect five rings from the Nazi zombies. When they player collects the rings, Yates befriends him. Yates cannot be befriended when the Nazi zombies disappear.