Earlier this week we reported, via our sister station Newstalk 1280AM KIT, that the Yakima Police Department is ending Traffic Emphasis Patrols, and has parked its Traffic Safety Unit.

 WHY WAS THE UNIT DISBANDED?

From our web page via KIT:

"Yakima Police Capt. Jay Seely says the unit was dissolved because of a lack of officers on the force. It's something that police agencies are seeing all around the state and the country."  

In addition, a number of cities in certain states (especially Seattle) are losing Officers in droves due to controversial policing policies being passed by legislators. These Yakima officers will still be watching for driving offenders, but only while they're on regular 'crime' patrols.

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We reached out to Richland, Pasco, and Kennewick Police Departments about this, to see if any such staffing issues are present here.  We are not aware of any glaring issues, but in the interest of public safety, we asked anyway.

HOW ARE AREA DEPARTMENTS LOOKING STAFF-WISE?

According to Kennewick Police Lt. and PIO Jason Kiel, he responded to our inquiry this way:

"Our traffic unit is still in existence.  We have had to re-deploy a couple of units from the unit to patrol temporarily to fill some shortages that we have within the patrol division.

We have several new hires in the academy and in-field training and we are hoping once they get trained up that we will fully re-staff the traffic unit as well as some other positions that have been left open."
   Most of, if any staffing issues in the Tri-Cities result from Departments having to keep up with the explosive population growth. Our area is the fastest growing in the state, and Law Enforcement is constantly working to ensure there are enough officers to enforce the laws and ensure public safety.
HAVE AREA AGENCIES ADDED OFFICERS FROM SEATTLE?
   It's interesting to note that our area departments, including Kennewick, have added Officers to their force who came here from Seattle. They've seen record numbers of departures especially following CHOP and many anti-police policies and even antagonistic treatment by city officials and bureaucrats.
SPEAKING OF TRAFFIC SAFETY AND SHORTAGES...
  It will be interesting to see what effect the vax mandate firings at the Washington State Patrol will have on highway patrols and safety in the coming months. Dozens of state troopers were let go by Gov. Inslee for exercising their personal rights of choice and refusing to get the shot.

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