"The culture of anything goes on Yakima streets must change." The words from Yakima Police Chief  Matthew Murray in a recent letter to the community talking about challenges facing the city and the police department. Planning is underway now for a major traffic emphasis next month funded in part by the Washington Traffic Safety Commission. Capt. Jay Seely says officers will be watching for speeders and drivers who run red lights. Yakima City Council member Matt Brown says the city announced the upcoming traffic emphasis "due to the sheer amount of calls we have had thinking we didn't have any traffic enforcement."

Brown says he supports the emphasis patrols to make the streets safer

Brown says he's in support of the effort not only to slow down drivers but also he says traffic enforcement leads to the arrests of people wanted for other crimes as well. During a recent Yakima City Council meeting the council approved resolutions to allow the Washington Traffic Safety Commission to provide funding not to exceed $3,000 to "assist in providing a Law Enforcement Liaison to collaborate with Yakima Police in promoting Target Zero priorities."

The city council has already taken action to get help with funding

The council also passed a resolution authorizing an "interlocal agreement with the Washington Traffic Safety Commission for funding to provide traffic safety emphasis patrols. The commission says it'll provide $90,000 to conduct multi-jurisdictional, high visibility traffic safety enforcement to support Target Zero operations." Target Zero is an attempt by the Washington State Patrol to arrest impaired drivers.
Under the agreement, the Washington Traffic Safety Commission will reimburse the City for overtime officers incur (up to $90,000) while conducting these emphasis patrols.

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