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Gang elimination strategy receives renewed support from Sunnyside City Council

The Sunnyside City Council reaffirmed its commitment to the gang elimination strategy at last night's council meeting, approving the resolution to renew the city's commitment by a vote of 6-0.

Sunnyside Deputy Police Chief Phil Schenck gave a presentation to the council on how the strategy was working, with hard data to support his points.

As an example, the DUI arrests were up 24 percent in the first quarter of 2012 from last year's first quarter, meaning that more drunk drivers are being removed from the road. Simple assault cases were down 49 percent in the same period.

Schenck also provided seven years worth of data on a variety of subjects. The evidence indicated that police are making more contacts with people and able to quickly find fugitives. Schenck credited the change to having more officers and a crime analyst on staff.

Schenck cited the example of the department recently catching a group of gang members on their way to commit a drive by shooting of the progress being made, saying that the incident would not have been possible without the analyst.

Another example was in the rate of residential burglaries in the month of March. In March of 2012 the city had only one residential burglary, compared to double-digits in the month of March in the past.

In addition to general crime statistics, Schenck also gave an overview of how the K-9 program has progressed, including the number of arrests and some samples of what the dog has sniffed out of suspect's vehicles.

Council member Jason Raines asked if the police department was prepared for more businesses to be selling hard liquor once Initiative 1183 goes into effect on the first of June. Schenck said his department was ready for the change.

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