News Releases

(Washington, D.C.) – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, announced that she included $750,000 to support gang and violent crime prevention efforts in Yakima County.  The funding was included in the Fiscal Year 2011 Senate Commerce, Justice, and Science (CJS) Appropriations Bill that was approved today by the CJS Appropriations Subcommittee. The bill contains $750,000 for the Yakima County Gang Initiative.

Gang-related violence has been a growing problem in Yakima County and across the state in recent years, and with local budgets now facing large cuts, law enforcement agencies are expressing concern that it may become even more difficult for them to fight this emerging source of crime. These local investments give agencies the support they need to fight and prevent gang activity. Sen. Murray’s previous work on the Yakima Gang Initiative has already supported local anti-gang efforts and funds the Gang Commission that was recently established. She has also called on the U.S. Department of Justice to increase the federal anti-gang resources in the area. 

“As gang violence continues to escalate in Yakima, we must ensure that critical programs have the resources they need to continue combating violence now and working to prevent it in the future,” said Senator Murray. “This investment will help Yakima County take a comprehensive approach to fighting gangs, and will give law enforcement officials the resources they need to make our neighborhoods safer.” 

Yakima County Gang Initiative – $750,000

This program develops service programs to address the most pressing needs and problems associated with youth gangs in Yakima County.  It brings together a coalition of law enforcement, teachers, social workers and community leaders to work cooperatively to address the root causes behind gang membership and violence.  

The funding will allow law enforcement in Yakima County to put in place a comprehensive gang-fighting initiative that focuses on prevention, suppression, and intervention.

  • PreventionThis component will focus on establishing an environment in schools with zero tolerance for gang behavior. Gang members and at-risk youth are closely monitored and expanded services provide a healthy alternative to gang activity.
  • SuppressionThis component provides crisis intervention assistance to law enforcement units immediately after a gang youth is picked up.  Community service organizations provide case management, mentoring, referral, and ongoing work with parents and youths. 
  • InterventionThe intervention component consists of Functional Family Therapy especially tailored for working with gang youths and their parents.  Treatment for youth with mental illness and substance abuse problems will be available through an accredited treatment center.  Educational and vocational training services will comprise another priority project focus.

Senator Murray is a leader in the Senate on combating gang violence. Last year she helped introduce major legislation that would provide more than $1 billion for gang prevention across the nation.