Gang related shootings have kept Yakima Police working overtime this past summer to stop the gang violence. Capt. Jay Seely says it's no secret that the unit is overwhelmed with work. The reason why the Yakima Police Department is looking forward to getting some federal help in the near future.

A FEDERAL TASK FORCE ARRIVES EARLY NEXT YEAR

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. But even with that many officers working full time on investigations it's not enough. 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 INVOLVED DIFFERENT AGENCIES AS WELL

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.
Seely says right now many gang members who are causing local violence live in the lower Yakima Valley.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.

POLICE HOPE THE INCREASED PRESSURE STOPS VIOLENT GANG SHOOTINGS

The FBI Safe Streets Task Force is expected to be in operation early next year throughout Yakima County. Local authorities hope the increased pressure on gangs will help cut down the number of gang related assaults and murders in Yakima.

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