Yakima police chief says immigration status not looked at

Jan 18, 2019, 5:29 AM
(File photo)
(File photo)

After a disturbingly record-setting homicide year for Yakima County — with 16 murders in Yakima itself and another 16 throughout the county in 2018 — the Yakima Police Department is trying to find a pattern.

“If we could just relate it to one violent offender type, that may help some of our analysis, and even enforcement,” Yakima Interim Police Chief Gary Jones told KIRO Radio’s Dori Monson. “But in this case, we’ve had quite a bit of division of different types of homicides, making it a little bit more problematic.”

According to The Seattle Times, the number of murders in Yakima County last year was the highest in nearly four decades. About 70 percent of the homicides have been solved.

RELATED: Burien mayor talks sanctuary city status after fatal shooting

Knowing that Yakima is somewhat infamous among Washingtonians as having issues with gangs and crime, Dori asked if the uptick in homicides had anything to do with the gang wars and drug trade on the streets.

“It’s reasonable to believe that gang members are involved in the drug trade, but not all drug trade people are gang members,” Jones said. “So they can be exclusive of each other.”

Two of the 2018 homicides, he said, had to do with a drug transaction, but did not seem to be connected with gang activity.

“There is a gang presence here that we’ve been working on a number of years, but we have not found the aptitude of gang violence that we would expect in these homicide numbers,” Jones said.

Dori then asked if the police department has any statistics on the number of illegal immigrants living in the county, or the number of crimes committed by any illegal immigrants.

“That’s one of the things that, as a department, we do not track,” Jones replied. “As part of our philosophy, we treat all community members the same.”

The knowledge of a person’s immigration status is more important for policymakers than law enforcement, Jones said, as it should not affect how police protect residents and find criminals.

“Knowing if they were documented or not does not change my enforcement effort … I’m bound by the Constitution and my oath that I protect and serve all,” he said.

He also explained that many residents have a fear of police if they are undocumented, and therefore may not be willing to speak to law enforcement and give vital information that helps solve crimes.

“I need to be able to solicit information from all walks of the community, and if they have a fear of law enforcement because we are going to do some sort of immigration check on them … We don’t want to put a cooling effect on people who may already be somewhat mistrustful of law enforcement anyway,” he said.

Dori Monson on KIRO Radio 97.3 FM
  • listen to dori monsonTune in to KIRO Radio weekdays at 12 noon for The Dori Monson Show.

Dori Monson Show

Dori Monson

Inslee, climate, vaccine requirements, election fraud...
Dori Monson Show

Gov. Inslee could be in ‘early stages of another presidential run,’ political watchdog theorizes

Gov. Jay Inslee is giving a political watchdog reason to believe he is considering a bid for the 2024 U.S. presidential election.
1 day ago
Western Washington University Viking...
Dori Monson

Dori: Is Western Washington University’s Viking mascot getting the woke boot?

He’s male. He’s Scandinavian. He’s considered by some as “too masculine” and “too aggressive.” And now, he might be getting canned.
4 days ago
plows, vaccine mandates...
Dori Monson

Dori: WSDOT’s snowplow service refusal over vaccine mandates ‘unbelievable,’ lawmaker says

State Sen. Curtis King joins the Dori Monson Show to discuss how COVID vaccine mandates may have impacted WSDOT's recent trials at the state passes.
5 days ago
Ronnie Spector...
Dori Monson

Dori’s tribute to the late Ronnie Spector: ‘She’s got one of the sexier lines in rock ‘n roll history’

When CBS News broke the story about the passing of the iconic singer Ronnie Spector today, I was so sad.
6 days ago
Musical theater, COVID...
Dori Monson Show

Local 7-year-old who beat COVID is kicked out of community theater program for lack of vax

The mom of a local 7-year-old speaks to Dori after her daughter was kicked out of a community theater program for being unvaccinated.
6 days ago
Dori Monson Show

State senator: Law allowing teens to change gender without parental consent is ‘insane’

Young people in Washington can’t buy cigarettes or vaping products until they’re 21, but teens can now pursue gender reassignment.
6 days ago

Sponsored Articles


Compassion International Is Determined to ‘Fill’ a Unique Type of Football ‘Stadium’

Compassion International SPONSORED — During this fall’s football season—and as the pandemic continues to impact the entire globe—one organization has been urging caring individuals to help it “fill” a unique type of “stadium” in order to make a lasting difference in the lives of many. Compassion International’s distinctive Fill the Stadium (FtS, initiative provides […]

What are the Strongest, Greenest, Best Windows?

Lake Washington Windows & Doors SPONSORED — Fiberglass windows are an excellent choice for window replacement due to their fundamental strength and durability. There is no other type of window that lasts as long as fiberglass; so why go with anything else? Fiberglass windows are 8x stronger than vinyl, lower maintenance than wood, more thermally […]

COVID Vaccine is a Game-Changer for Keeping our Kids Healthy

Snohomish Health District SPONSORED — Cheers to the parents and guardians who keep their kids safe and healthy. The dad who cooks a meal with something green in it, even though he’s tired and drive-thru burgers were tempting. The mom who calms down the little one who loudly and resolutely does NOT want to brush […]
Experience Anacortes

Coastal Christmas Celebration Week in Anacortes

With minimal travel time required and every activity under the sun, Anacortes is the perfect vacation spot for all ages.

Delayed-Onset PTSD: Signs and Symptoms

Lakeside-Milam Recovery Centers SPONSORED — You’re probably familiar with post-traumatic stress disorder. Often abbreviated as PTSD, this condition is diagnosed when a person experiences a set of symptoms for at least a month after a traumatic event. However, for some people, these issues take longer to develop. This results in a diagnosis of delayed-onset PTSD […]

Medicare open enrollment ends Dec. 7. Free unbiased help is here!

Washington State Office of the Insurance Commissioner SPONSORED — Medicare’s Open Enrollment Period, also called the Annual Election Period, is Oct. 15 to Dec. 7. During this time, people enrolled in Medicare can: Switch from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage plan and vice versa. Join, drop or switch a Part D prescription drug plan, […]
Yakima police chief says immigration status not looked at