YPD ramps up violent crime emphasis patrols with help from several agencies


YAKIMA, Wash. -- The community will see more police patrolling Yakima neighborhoods over the next few months.

Authorities held a news conference Thursday at the federal courthouse to address ongoing violent crime in the community.

Two back-to-back murders this month brings the county total to 13 homicides so far this year - 10 of them in Yakima.

RELATED: 2017 violence trend shows local homicides are up from last year

Police will now focus on more preventative measures to try and stop a vicious cycle of crime. That means more officers on the streets, increasing their presence with gang and violent crime emphasis patrols.

Police will also deploy more resources by partnering with multiple federal and state agencies, including the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), and the Violent Offender Task Force, among others.

“When we're confronted with a series of events like we have been this spring, we have to work more closely together,” said Yakima County Sheriff Brian Winter.

Several murders, shootings, and dozens of robberies have plagued the community this year.

RELATED: Yakima city officials seeking state help to battle ongoing crime wave

Police have stretched limited resources in a collaborative effort with other agencies, wrapping up a two-week emphasis patrol that had startling numbers.

There were 54 arrests made between May 30 and June 13, with 28 of them being gang members and associates.

Police served 29 felony warrants, adding to 15 new felony charges for new suspects, including possession of illegal drugs, unlawful possession of firearms, and one robbery charge.

There were 43 misdemeanor arrests and warrants, and six firearms were recovered, rounding out an extensive crackdown on crime.

“The officers and federal agencies worked extremely hard during this period of time and will continue to work together throughout the upcoming months,” said Lieutenant Sean Boyle of the Yakima Police Department (YPD).

Authorities declined to share strategies but confirmed a heightened police presence.

“We're doing that in a sporadic manner as in not to create any type of pattern,” said YPD Chief Dominic Rizzi.

YPD averages 20 officers during graveyard shifts, which is a peak time for crime. But now there will be more visibility targeting violent offenders, with many of the crimes drug and gang-related.

“It's something that we are looking at and addressing, and having our federal partners helps us with that mission,” said Chief Rizzi.

A mission to protect the community from rising crime.

Police said all suspects that were arrested have been reviewed and screened for other potential criminal violations. However, they would not disclose whether suspects arrested in this recent emphasis patrol had any criminal history due to open investigations.

Authorities said the U.S Department of Justice (DOJ) has made grants available to attack the nation's heroin and meth epidemic. Police said they will apply for those federal funds.

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