Yakima Police are hoping to bring back the department's traffic unit in 2022. The unit was cancelled earlier this year because of a lack of officers.

Many officers left the force earlier this year among new police reforms

Capt. Jay Seely says right now only patrol officers are handling traffic issues but patrol officers are also in short supply. Many officers retired or left the force earlier this year after the Washington State Legislature implemented controversial police reform laws. Democratic lawmakers not only in Washington State but also in California and Maryland implemented a host of reforms including new rules for body cameras and bans on chokeholds.

Yakima Police Patrol Officers are now doing double duty

The reforms have left departments like Yakima wondering how they'll fill the ranks in the future. Capt. Seely that means some officers are doing double duty like patrols officers handling traffic while running from call to call. Not only has the traffic unit been cancelled but ongoing emphasis patrols in the city aren't happening as well until the department can hire more officers. So police are telling drivers to drive defensively until things change.

Special Washington State Patrol is doing special emphasis patrols for the holiday

If you are drinking on New Year's Eve don't drive say local authorities.  The Washington State Patrol has joined other state law enforcement agencies with emphasis patrols over the New Year’s Holiday.
Last year between Christmas and New Year’s Day, the Washington State Patrol made 359 arrests for impaired driving.
State officials say an average of 300 people die in the United States every year during the week between Christmas and New Year’s. 10,000 people were killed nationwide last year in impaired driving crashes accounting for nearly one-third of the yearly driving fatalities.

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