A coalition of King County's smallest police departments came together yesterday to announce the creation of a Major Crimes Task Force...
A coalition of King County’s smallest police departments came together yesterday to announce the creation of a Major Crimes Task Force, a project state officials hailed as one of the most important and innovative advances in law enforcement in decades.
The 14-member task force will respond to crimes ranging from homicide to kidnapping in small cities across the Eastside and South King County. It will work alongside representatives from the Washington State Patrol’s Crime Laboratory, as well as the Most Dangerous Offenders Program within the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office.
The idea was to gather the best available expertise, said task-force commander Christopher Hurst. That meant that some police departments ended up with two officers on the task force while others police departments have none.
Hurst, an investigative commander with the Black Diamond Police Department, said it was impressive that so many city officials and police personnel put aside concerns about ego and territory to allow for the strongest task force possible.
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Gov. Christine Gregoire promised $100,000 to the Coalition of Small Police Agencies yesterday.
“It’s not easy to get new money into a new program under any circumstances,” said Gregoire, speaking at the Black Diamond Community Center. “But it was the right thing to do, and the right cause.”
The cities in the coalition are Algona, Black Diamond, Carnation, Clyde Hill, Duvall, Enumclaw, Hunts Point, Issaquah, Medina, Lake Forest Park, Normandy Park, Pacific, Snoqualmie and Yarrow Point. Together, they are home to more than 77,000 residents.
The number of home invasions, domestic assaults, rapes and even homicides has increased in recent years in these cities, he said.
When major crimes occur, often the small city police department is not equipped to cope with it.
That happened in Black Diamond two years ago, when the city of 4,000 saw a fatal stabbing in a trailer park. All 11 officers responded and worked on the case for two days.
Police from Enumclaw responded to any calls that came in to the Black Diamond police department during those days.
Black Diamond Police Chief Rick Luther described it as a small-city police chief’s worst nightmare.
“You’re working with everything you’ve got inside of you to get it done,” he said.
With the support of state and city funds, the task force will get regular training in everything from law-enforcement trends to the latest DNA technology.
“It will be a huge relief,” said Chris Todd, a Snoqualmie police officer who is a member of the task force. “We’ll have a whole system set up.”
Cara Solomon: 206-464-2024 or firstname.lastname@example.org