The Gang Unit of the Yakima Police Department has been working overtime to try and stop gang related gun violence. But the unit is set to get some major help early next year.

FBI SAFE STREETS TASK FORCE IS BEING FORMED RIGHT NOW

Capt. Jay Seely says recent drive-by and gang related shootings have many people feeling concerned, angry or scared about being in public. Seely says he understands and says that's why the 5 detectives and 1 sergeant who are assigned to the unit work gang related crime on a full time basis. Seely says while that's nice to have such a dedicated unit they could always use more help. That's where the Federal Government comes in. Seely says planning is underway right now in preparation for the start of the FBI Safe Streets Task Force which is expected to be fully up and in operation early next year.

THE TASK FORCE WILL CONSIST OF LOCAL STATE AND FEDERAL MEMBERS

The task force will be operated by FBI officials along with representatives from the Yakima Police Department, the Yakima County Sheriff's Office, the Washington State Patrol and the Bureau of Indian Affairs. Seely says enforcement will concentrate on the reservation but will also work in the city of Yakima as well.

FEDERAL OFFICIALS BRING THE WEIGHT OF THE FEDERAL COURT SYSTEM

Seely says right now many gang members who are causing local violence live on the reservation. They commit crimes in Yakima and then flee to the reservation. Many gang members also live in Yakima. The reason why the task force will work throughout the area. Besides being able to cover a lot of area Capt. Seely says those who are arrested will face federal charges because of the involvement of the FBI so there's a possibility of longer sentences for those convicted under the federal system.
The FBI Safe Streets Task Force is expected to be in operation early next year throughout Yakima County.

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