Yakima County is getting ready to ramp up the fight against crime. Work is underway to develop the new regional crime lab opening later this year in Zillah. Yakima County Sheriff Bob Udell is the Chair of the regional crime lab operations board who says they're now awaiting construction of offices at the facility to be finished. County officials are also in the hiring process looking for technicians.

The lab will be supported by cities but not the city of Yakima

Specialized equipment is also on order or being installed as well.
Startup funding for the center comes from $2.8 million in American Rescue Plan Act funding for equipment, staff and training. Cities in the valley have agreed to support the center through an annual payment. The amount each city will pay is based on population. Yakima would have been the largest contributor at $91,000 annually but the city has decided to not participate in the lab funding.
Udell says he would have liked to see Yakima support the lab but he says it'll go forward without the city.

The special equipment has never been in use in Yakima

The lab will help solve crime all around the county. The startup money from ARPA funding will cover the costs of setting up the center, connecting participating cities plus highly specialized equipment that will help identify shell casings found in area shootings. Another machine will give investigators a rapid DNA test result and a third computer program will allow detectives to search and analyze criminals cellphones. Udell says they're the kind of crime fighting tools that have never been available in Yakima County.

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