More help needed for Yakima courts - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

More help needed for Yakima courts

YAKIMA, Wash -- The Yakima City Council has agreed on a plan to fight crime in the city.

Seven new officers will be added to the police force. However, police can arrest all the criminals they want, but if the courts can't process them, they often just stay on the street, committing more crimes.

The new crime action plan will add one new court clerk to help with the backlog of paper work, but one extra clerk is still five less than the courts need. 

"We are still 50 percent below the state average for court clerks based on case load," said Susan Woodard, a Yakima Municipal Court judge.

Every criminal case makes its way through the courts via a paper based tracking system. The council's plan will add a new computer based case management system to replace it.

Cynthia  Martinez, a City Attorney, said this new system will help track criminals, speed the legal process and help keep repeat offenders behind bars.

Both Woodard and Martinez said the crime action plan is a great first step, but more needs to be done to help reduce crime in Yakima.