It's a regional crime lab and it's a step closer to becoming reality after the Yakima County Commissioners on Tuesday voted in favor of using $2.8 million in American Rescue Plan Act money to fund the lab. Yakima County Sheriff Bob Udell is now the Chair of the newly formed Local Crime Lab Operations Board. “Today is not only a big day for the safety of all Yakima County residents, it is a huge day for true regional collaboration of the many law enforcement agencies that are responsible for public safety all across our valley,” says Udell. “The modern evidence equipment to be implemented is tip-of the-spear crime-fighting technology, but the agencies sharing criminal analysts and up-to-date information will be the game-changing strategy that brings crime in our communities to acceptable levels.”

The future location of the center will be in Zillah

Udell says $1.2 million of the federal grant money will cover the costs of setting up the center, connecting participating cities plus highly specialized equipment that would help identify shell casings found in area shootings. Another machine would give investigators a rapid DNA test result and a third computer program would allow detectives to search and analyze criminals cellphones. A press release says the "remaining $1.6M federal funds will primarily be used for staffing and training over the next 4 years. The true power of the $1.2M in equipment rests with the program’s planned expert staff, who will use it to support investigations and ensure cases are properly built for prosecutors."

The center will be located in Zillah in a Yakima County Sheriff's Office substation.

It's a center that's never been available to local authorities

Udell says the federal grant will the fund the Regional Crime Intelligence Center operation for at least five years. YVCOG is also hoping for combined support for the center from cities in the valley that would benefit from the use of the networked information. That money would help support the center beyond the 5-year federal grant funding.
He says the new center will help cities in the valley by connect with each other to help combat crime that happens anywhere in the valley.
Udell says the sharing of information could help agencies arrest more wanted criminals and help curb local gang shootings.

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