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Sunnyside council moves to support gang commission

The Sunnyside City Council moved to support a proposed gang commission after hearing from Yakima County Commissioner Kevin Bouchey at last night's meeting.

Bouchey explained to council that county commissioners are putting together the Yakima County Gang Commission to assist in coordinating a countywide strategic and collaborative approach to solving the problem of gangs.

Bouchey the commission would be a non-regulatory body and the sole purpose of the commission would be to provide support, technical assistance, coordination, consultation and other resources to encourage communities to reduce gang acidity and promote healthy and safe environments.

He said the commission will accomplish these goals by facilitating cooperation between local governments, law enforcement agencies, social service providers, K-12 and higher education, business and industry, faith based organizations, families and the general public.

Bouchey told the council that gangs have become an increasing threat to the safety and security of Yakima County citizens. The Yakima County Gang Commission is intended to provide Yakima County communities and its citizens a coordinated effort and a host of resources, information, research and best practice approaches to help combat the increasing gang activity.

Bouchey said he is not looking for funds from individual cities. He said funding is being secured from appropriations and grants.

"We have enough funding to hire a coordinator for two or three years," he said.

The commission members will consist of the Yakima County Sheriff, the Yakima County prosecuting attorney, a representative from Yakima County Superior Court, a Yakima County commissioner and representatives from each city.

Bouchey said the Yakima County commissioners will form this commission sometime in May and have its first meeting in July.

The Sunnyside City Council unanimously supported the proposal.

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