Yakima Police Helping Fight Sunnyside Gang Crime
Sunnyside Police continue the investigation into the Friday, May 6 shooting in which five people were shot in downtown Sunnyside during the annual Cinco De Mayo celebration. The shooting cancelled the weekend long event on Friday.
Police continue to investigate but so far no arrests have been made
Police talked with 7 juveniles after the shooting and recovered a gun but no arrests have been made. Authorities say none of the wounds were life threatening but they say it's likely the small children were traumatized by the event.
Yakima Police Capt. Jay Seely says gang shootings "absolutely they scare people." and he says they make some people think twice about attending other events. He says gang members have no regard for the safety of anyone in the community.
Yakima Police work closely with Sunnyside and other lower valley police
The Yakima Police Department SWAT Team and Gang Unit work closely with the Sunnyside Police Department because Seely says many gang members who commit crimes in Yakima live in the lower valley.
But Seely says it's tough to predict and stop gang crime when there's a shortage of officers in the valley and restrictive laws that prevent officers from taking the actions they need to stop violent crime.
A shortage of officers has put a big stress on officers in Yakima
Seely says the officer shortages the Yakima Police Department faced last year haven't changed much. Currently the department has 113 full-time officers who can be deployed on the streets of Yakima, but the department is budgeted for 143 officers. At the end of last year the number of available officers was 112 on the Yakima force.
Security for downtown events in Yakima will mean overtime for officers
As a result, Seely says any officers who work security for downtown events this year in Yakima will have to work on overtime putting even more pressure on the officers.
The city traffic unit was cancelled last year and so far it looks like the unit won't have enough officers to start up again in June as per a plan by the department last year.
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