Yakima County Sheriff’s Office Found a Way to Cut Cost at a Price
The Yakima County Sheriff's Office found a way to avoid laying off deputies, but it comes at a price. News partner KIMA Action News reports Detectives will be pulled off cases and put on patrol.
"I heard a siren coming down here towards my house," said crime victim Dan Bean. Bean wasn't sure what was going on. "Sixty to eighty miles an hour, he said. "The gun shots I thought I heard was actually him jumping over the Wikle Road."
It turns out a burglar with a long record was on the run after getting away from the one officer in the area.
"It's scary it's not something you even want to have happen to your family," Bean said. "Had one of my kids been out here in the road like they always are because we live off the main road, he could have easily ran over one of my children."
This father of eight had to use his own gun to eventually capture the crook and wait for police.
"Thank goodness it was Dan and not someone else," said Yakima County Deputy Matt Steadman.
Steadman has been with the Yakima County Sheriff's Office for more than 10 years. He has never seen the department stretched so thin. It has only six deputies to cover the Valley. Three more deputies will be added Jan. 1st, 2013, but the priority is changing. Detectives will be moved to patrol.
"Those detectives are no longer going to be able to investigate the property crimes, the burglaries the thefts," Steadman said.
And the list goes on. The most troubling is cutting a detective from the Violent Task Force which arrests about 30 dangerous criminals a month.
The only DEA detective for the Upper Valley will be removed. That will put more pressure on Yakima Police Department.
"It's a lose, lose for everybody but the criminal," Steadnan said.
It is the only way the sheriff's office says it can avoid layoffs under a $521,000 loss in the budget.
Yakima Sheriff's Office is holding off on big purchases like new cruisers and monitoring the cost of gas to hold the line on the budget.