Thousands of taxpayer dollars going toward police calls to troubled motel

YAKIMA, Wash.-- A troubled motel along North First Street is racking up a bill that you're paying. Police can't seem to stay away from the Sunshine Motel. And, it was recognized three years ago for taking care of its problems.

The Sunshine Motel gets more police attention than any other business on North First Street. Officers have had to go there more than once a day over the last nine months. Your taxpayer dollars pay for every trip.

The Sunshine Motel on North First Street uses more police resources than any of its neighbors.

"From assaults to prostitution to drug activity," YPD Capt. Rod Light said.

These a just some of the reasons Yakima police officers are called out to the Sunshine Motel daily. 321 times In the last nine months.

"320 plus times in nine months," Capt. Rod Light said. "That's a lot of taxpayer dollars being funneled into one place on North First Street."

The problem is not slowing down. Already this year, YPD has responded to the Sunshine Motel 46 times. Officers were there 310 times last year. That's almost four times more than the 79 calls in 2012. In 2011, the motel owners got a lot of credit from YPD for turning things around with a drop in criminal activity.

All those calls add up and come at the expense of the taxpayer. KIMA did the math. Most of these calls take two officers and last about 20 minutes. That's almost 240 hours on the clock since the beginning of last year at The Sunshine Motel, or about $9,000 dollars of an officer's salary.

YPD knows something needs to be done.

"It has been neglected for so long and it went so far south in terms of these low end motels," Light said.

YPD is focused on increasing motel security so there are fewer calls. To get all sides, I tried to talk with the owner. He wasn't there so I left my card.

If things don't get better, Yakima codes enforcement could take the owners to court and threaten to shut the place down. The city hasn't reached that breaking point yet.

KIMA reached out to code enforcement officers about the Sunshine Motel. They say they're still deciding their next move. As for the motel owner, KIMA tried repeatedly to get in touch with him, but got no answer.