The way authorities fight crime in the Yakima Valley is about to get a big boost if a proposed regional Crime Center Information Network becomes a reality. The proposal from the Yakima Valley Conference of Governments is to connect all police agencies in the valley through a information sharing system. YVCOG's Vicki Baker says they've met with the 15 jurisdictions in the valley that would be part of the plan to explain the positive aspects of the proposal.

Baker says they're now searching for funding through grant requests

Now she says they're in the process of applying for almost $4 million in federal grant funding. The money would be used to purchase highly specialized equipment that would help identify shell casings found in area shootings. The resulting evidence could then help police tie guns and suspects to shootings anywhere in the valley leading to more arrests. Another machine would give investigators a rapid DNA test result and a third computer program would allow detectives to search and analyze criminals cellphones. If the funding can be obtained Baker says it'll fund the operation of the center for at least five years.

YVCOG officials are hoping cities jump on board and support the proposal


YVCOG is also hoping for combined support for the center from cities in the valley that would benefit from the use of the networked information. She says the sharing of information could help agencies arrest more wanted criminals and stop gang shootings.

Yakima City officials haven't yet committed to being a part of the network because of financial concerns. Yakima Police say they're concerned about duplicating things already in place at the department.

We'll be talking to Baker and others about the latest developments

Don't miss our conversation with Baker where she'll talk about proposed funding and the equipment needed to fight local crime. The interview is set for Thursday, April 21 at 7:15 am on KIT.

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