Yakima Police Chief heading to Washington, DC - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Yakima Police Chief heading to Washington, DC

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YAKIMA--Yakima Police Chief Sam Granato is heading to Washington, D.C. with hundreds of other sheriffs and police chiefs from all over the country.

They're going as members of the group, "Fight Crime, Invest in Kids."  They promote early education and preventative measures to keep children on the right side of the law.

That's a very important issue in Yakima, a city with an admitted gang problem where teenagers often show up on court dockets for serious crimes.

The group will meet with members of Congress this week to encourage funding for education and after-school programs.

"If we can get to children at a very early age and keep them in school," Granato said.  "We can get them interested and educated early, [then] they will not drop out of school and are very unlikely to get involved in criminal activity later on."

Granato points to the Yakima Police Athletic League (YPAL), Head Start, and the Gang Resistance Education And Training (GREAT) program as activities that keep kids in the classroom and off the street.

He hopes the trip leads Congress to provide funding for these projects, so they can possibly be expanded to all of Yakima County.