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Departure of crime analyst leaves city a big hole to fill

The crime analyst at the Sunnyside Police Department, Courtney Percival, has taken another job, leaving Sunnyside's crime prevention strategy team with a substantial hole, according to Sunnyside Deputy Police Chief Phil Schenck.

"We're moving as quickly as possible to find a replacement," said Schenck, who has championed a program that uses data from crime analysis to determine where to concentrate policing efforts, particularly anti-gang efforts.

During the recent budget process, the police department's crime analyst position was changed to include 50 percent administrative assistant duties. Percival said the change was not a major factor in her decision to leave.

"I am formally educated in crime and intelligence analysis," she said. "I was mostly guided by a career opportunity that offers a lot of growth in the field I am passionate about."

Percival, who has moved on to a full-time position in Yakima, also said that her background makes her better suited to be a full-time analyst, but she loved working for the Sunnyside police and for the community of Sunnyside.

Schenck said the police department is exploring options.

"The crime analyst is essential to our department," he said. "It's an essential part of our gang elimination strategy. We're working to determine the best solution for our city."

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