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Sunnyside police receive $116,000 to combat auto thefts

This morning at a press conference in Yakima the Sunnyside Police Department announced it will receive a $116,365 grant from the Washington Auto Theft Prevention Authority to help the city combat auto thefts.

"Washington has ranked in the top five nationally for the past several years for stolen motor vehicles," said Washington Auto Theft Prevention Authority Executive Director Jim La Munyon. "There has been a recent decline in stolen vehicles throughout the state with the most significant change in Seattle and King County."

To keep pressure on car thieves, the Washington Auto Theft Prevention Authority released $4.435 million in financial assistance grants to law enforcement and prosecution agencies across the state, with $440,000 going to four local police agencies in Yakima County.

The grant funds will be used for law enforcement investigations and arrests, prosecution, crime analysis, technology and other specialized equipment, bait vehicles, confinement costs, public education and awareness, all to reduce the number of vehicles stolen in Washington.

The Sunnyside Police Department will use its $116,000 to engage in pro-active auto theft prevention.

Interagency search features will be upgraded using Spillman Insight software. This will allow the Sunnyside Police Department to connect to a records management system to obtain and share information.

A pin mapping module will be used in conjunction with the Spillman Records Management System to improve the department's investigations, supply crucial information for effective decision making and provide valuable tracking tools.

Sunnyside Police Department will also get vehicle stop sticks, a less than lethal product that provides officer safety during deployment and removal from the roadway.

Vehicle stop sticks are designed to deflate tires without a blowout. The sticks are intended to safely, quickly and effectively end vehicle pursuits.

Police will also purchase a graffiti cam. This is a surveillance system that allows the monitoring of areas under investigation by officers.

The last new piece of equipment Sunnyside police will receive is an automatic license plate reader.

LaMunyon said the funds and the collaborative work between different agencies should have a positive effect in driving down other criminal activity committed by those who steal cars, such as illegal drug use and distribution, identity and other types of thefts, and burglaries.

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