Criminals Beware; Yakima County Crime Lab is Looking For You
Within the next three months Yakima County will ramp up the fight against local crime with the official opening of a regional crime lab in Zillah. Yakima County Sheriff Bob Udell is the Chair of the regional crime lab operations board who says they've hired specially trained technicians to operate highly specialized crime fighting equipment.
THE LARGEST CITY IN THE VALLEY ISN'T FUNDING THE LAB
Startup funding for the center comes from $2.8 million in American Rescue Plan Act funding for equipment, staff and training. Cities in the valley have agreed to support the center through an annual payment. The amount each city will pay is based on population. Yakima would have been the largest contributor at $91,000 annually but the city decided to not participate in the lab funding.
SPECIALIZED EQUIPMENT THAT'S NEVER BEEN AVAILABLE LOCALLY WILL BE USED IN YAKIMA
Udell says the lab will help solve crime all around the county. The startup money from ARPA funding covered the costs of setting up the center, connecting participating cities plus highly specialized equipment that will help identify shell casings found in area shootings. Another machine will give investigators a rapid DNA test result and a third computer program will allow detectives to search and analyze criminals cellphones.
UDELL SAYS THE LAB IS INDEPENDENT
Udell says it's the kind of crime fighting tools that have never been available in Yakima County.
Udell also says the lab operates as its own entity not tied to any specific law enforcement in the valley. He says he looks forward to making a big impact on crime and arresting more suspects in serious violent crimes in the valley. Udell says he expects to the lab to be fully operational within the next three months.
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Gallery Credit: Katelyn Leboff