Yakima You Live in a Violent State Where Police are Leaving
Crime is up in the state while the number of people you call for help is going down. The annual report released Wednesday by the Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs shows a 12.3% increase in violent crime in Washington State last year.
Hundreds of murders were recorded as the state lost officers
The report says there were 325 murders statewide last year the most recorded since when the association started keeping track of such information in 1980. While robberies, murders, and serious assaults are up around the state police officers are leaving jobs at a concerning pace. Statewide last year Washington had 495 fewer officers on the job. It's a problem in every department including in the Yakima Police Department. The department is short 11 officers. Because of that shortage the department had to cancel the traffic unit last year. Now the hope is to have enough officers hired to restart the unit at the end of the year or next year.
Yakima Police are doing what they can to recruit new officers but it's not easy
Capt. Jay Seely says Patrol Officers continue to work overtime hours to supplement the traffic division. Not only are there not enough officers to create a new traffic unit but there's also a shortage of patrol officers. Recruitment is underway but Seely says they're just not seeing a lot of new applicants.
Along with the 11 open positions The department has more officers who are employed but unable to police the streets due to the fact that they are awaiting academy training and others are on various long-term disabilities.
Seely doesn't think the lack of 11 officers is endangering Yakima
Seely says regardless of the lack of officers he's not concerned about a lack of safety. He says they continue to maintain city coverage by using overtime. That means the same officers are working more time on the streets of Yakima. Something he's hoping will drastically change this summer.
He says officers working security at events like Downtown Summer Nights are working on overtime hours because of the lack of available officers on the force.
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