Yakima gang unit hoping to double in size - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Yakima gang unit hoping to double in size

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YAKIMA, Wash.-- The Yakima Police Department is hoping to double the size of its gang unit to cut down on gang activity and crime.

The plan calls for creating a second, five person gang unit in Yakima. There's already a gang unit that patrols the streets five days a week, but because of all the gang problems there are in town, the city manager and police chief want gang unit officers out seven days a week.

City Manager Tony O'Rourke says it'll cost the city about $320,000 next year. They plan on reassigning three officers from other duties, and hiring on two more to fill out the unit.
O'Rourke says the gang problem in Yakima is a big deal, and deserves more resources from YPD.

"Though the gang unit has been quite effective, it only represented 3% of the resources of the police department, and I think the problem warrants more than 3% of our resources. So, by doubling our efforts, I hope that we'll get even more substantial results," said O'Rourke.

Right now, O'Rourke says gang unit officers don't have time to investigate graffiti reports, because they're constantly dealing with bigger problems. But, he says the new unit will help lighten the load, making it possible to investigate reports, and prosecute taggers.

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