The Patrol Division of the Yakima Police Department, the uniformed division, is the largest and most visible division in the department. The officers assigned to the patrol division provide services to the citizens of Yakima 24 hours per day, 365 days per year. These services include responding to crimes in progress, traffic collisions, missing persons, lost children, preventative patrol, criminal investigations, and other emergency and non-emergency calls for service.
There are several units within the patrol division that specialize in certain areas of law enforcement, such as Traffic, the Crisis Response Unit, Patrol K-9’s and the Reserve Officer Program.
The City of Yakima is divided into nine patrol districts, and each officer is assigned to patrol a specific district. These specific district, or “beat” assignments allow the officers to gain valuable knowledge about that specific area of the city.
These assignments create a familiarity between the officer and citizens, businesses and business owners, and potential problem areas that need to be addressed. Many crimes have been prevented and solved through the knowledge that the district officer has about his or her assigned area of the city.
The men and women of the patrol division are sometimes referred to as the “face” of the police department, due to their visible presence in the community. With that in mind, they are committed to providing professional police services to the citizens of Yakima.
Crisis Response Unit
The Crisis Response Unit (CRU) is comprised of two specialized teams: the Crisis Negotiations Team (CNT), and the Special Weapons and Tactics Team (SWAT). The CRU was established to provide specialized support in handling critical field operations where intense negotiations and/or special tactical deployment methods beyond the capacity of field officers appear to be necessary.
The SWAT unit is comprised of officers from the Yakima Police Department, deputies from the Yakima County Sheriff’s Office, and officers from the Union Gap Police Department. The unit is also staffed by Reserve Officers who are the team’s tactical medics. The tactical medics are practicing medical professionals in their private lives, and provide their expertise on a volunteer basis. The SWAT unit trains bi-monthly, and members must maintain rigorous standards, both physically and mentally.
The CNT is comprised of Yakima Police Officers, and also by mental health professionals from Central Washington Mental Health. The CNT trains on a quarterly basis where they try and hone their negotiating skills, ensure their equipment is working properly, and receive updated training regarding dealing with emotionally disturbed persons.
The primary duties of the traffic unit are traffic complaint enforcement, school zone enforcement, accident reduction enforcement, collision investigation, escorts, and special event traffic control. Motorcycle officers also often respond to dispatched patrol calls as backup officers to patrol officers. At times, due to their mobility, motorcycle officers become the primary officer at crime scenes due to their quick arrival.
The goal of the traffic unit is to reduce the number of traffic collisions, injuries and fatalities. They emphasize enforcement of collision causing violations, and occupant safety violations. Most of the traffic officers have received extensive training in collision reconstruction and investigation.
The traffic unit utilizes the police motorcycle for their duties for 8-9 months of the year, and when weather prohibits the use of the motorcycle the officers use traffic cars.