Yakima Public Safety Forum Q&A
Between June 2017 and March 2018 Yakima City Council-members sponsored a series of 10 public forums to discuss public safety concerns within the City of Yakima. The public provided valuable feedback to the City which resulted in the below questions and answers page.
Does the non-emergency phone number operate 24/7?
No, the non-emergency number operates from 8 AM to 5 PM. The option to leave a voicemail is available 24/7 and your call will be returned as soon as possible.
Can texts be sent to 911 in Spanish?
Do 911 dispatchers ask callers about citizenship status?
No, questions regarding citizenship will not be asked.
What crime is considered substantial enough to call 911? What crime is considered a non-emergency?
If any form of immediate assistance is needed, contact 911.
Online incident reporting is also available through the Yakima Police Departments website. Online incident reporting is available for the following crime types:
- Car Prowls
- Extra Patrol Requests
- Identity Theft
- Lost Property
- Theft from Auto
Is texting 911 treated as a priority?
Yes, 911 text is treated the same as a normal call to 911 services. To expedite the process of reporting through text, list the address and problem in the first text message you send.
If someone calls 911 to report a crime, do police officers disclose at the scene who called 911?
No, it will not be disclosed who contacted 911 if you request to remain anonymous.
Is it necessary for police officers to speak with the individual who called 911 at or near the scene of the crime?
No, speaking with a Law Enforcement Officer is at the discretion of the individual reporting the incident. Notify 911 that you would like to remain anonymous. If you would like to follow up on the incident later contact the Yakima Police Department and provide the date and address of where the incident occurred.
How can I reach Yakima’s 911 services if I am calling from outside of Yakima County on behalf of someone else?
Call 911 and they should be able to transfer you to Yakima. If they are unable to call Yakima Police Department at (509) 575-6197 and select option 2 to make a report. The attendant will be able to transfer you to 911.
What is the age requirement for participating in the Community Academy?
You must be at least 18 years of age.
Is citizenship required to participate in the Community Academy?
No, citizenship is not required.
How do people sign up for the Community Academy?
Contact Yakima PD Community Services at (509) 575-6197 or at YPDCS@yakimawa.gov
What is Block Watch?
Block Watch is a program sponsored by the Yakima Police Department, to help people organize on a block-by-block basis to prevent crime in their neighborhood. Block Watch is not a patrol, but a network of neighbors looking out for each other. A police officer patrolling your neighborhood may not recognize a stranger in your yard, but your neighbors would.
Statistics show a 50-85% reduction in burglaries for Yakima Neighborhoods once they have initiated the Block Watch Program.
How does Block Watch work?
Block Watch is based on neighbor helping neighbor. One or two residents are designated as Block Captain/Co-Captain and function as the liaison between residents and the Police Department. The residents watch out for each other’s homes and report suspicious activities to the police and to each other to reduce the likelihood of a burglary and other crimes occurring on their street. Families on a block form a communication chain aided by a block map of names, addresses and phone numbers. The Block Watch program is not intended to form citizen crime watch patrol or vigilante groups. You are asked only to report the situation to the police and let them handle it. It is not a good idea to confront any suspicious person(s) or attempt to make an arrest yourself; your safety could be in jeopardy.
How do I start Block Watch in my neighborhood?
It’s easy as 1 – 2 – 3
- Contact the Community Services Office at the Police Department.
- You will receive a packet of information and can then go to your neighbors. To find out how many are interested in being involved, take along flyers provided in the packet. If you have the required 50% interested, you’re half way there.
- Arrange a meeting with your neighbors. A Police Department representative will be there to explain the Block Watch Program to you.
What are the requirements of an active Block Watch?
- A meeting for neighbors where a Police Department representative will explain the program. At this meeting the group will elect a Captain and Co-Captain who will act as liaisons with the Police Department.
- A map of your block listing participating houses with names and telephone numbers of residents must be updated annually.
- Participation in Operation Identification (marking removable valuables with driver’s license numbers using an electronic engraving pen which is provided by the Police Department)
What should be reported as suspicious activities and how should these be reported?
Residents are encouraged to report activities such as:
- A person carrying household property on foot.
- Someone peering into parked cars or removing license plates or car accessories.
- Strangers loitering or driving through the neighborhood: Someone going door to door, trying to open doors or going around to the back.
- Unusual or “odd” behavior that seems “out of place” in your neighborhood.
- Youth in neighborhood during school hours.
Do all neighbors receive a Block Watch sticker or do only active members of Block Watch receive a Block Watch sticker?
You must be an active Block Watch participant to receive a Block Watch sticker.
Can the YPD help revitalize a previously active neighborhood Block Watch?
Yes, contact Yakima PD Community Services at (509) 575-6197 or at YPDCS@yakimawa.gov
How big of an area does a neighborhood Block Watch cover?
There is no set size limit on a Block Watch neighborhood and the geographic region of the Block Watch neighborhood varies based on community participation.
Can a Block Watch (or civilian) conduct a citizens’ arrest?
No, Block Watch participants are the eyes and ears for reporting activity in their neighborhoods.
Is YakBack, available online in Spanish?
Currently it is not available in Spanish.
How can I get a speed bump installed to reduce speeding in my neighborhood?
Contact City of Yakima – Traffic and Engineering at (509) 575-6005.
Can parents legally discipline by spanking?
How does the YPD handle a call made by a minor who is being spanked/disciplined by their parents?
YPD Officers will always respond to calls made by minors. The incident will be reviewed and the officer will make a determination on a case by case basis.
How do YPD Officers deal with parents in this scenario, specifically how do YPD Officers deal with parents who are undocumented immigrants?
YPD Officers will never ask for citizenship status.
What are options for an individual who feel they were victimized by law enforcement officials?
There are four ways to file a complaint with the Yakima Police Department
- Phone at (509) 575-6197
- Paper Copy – located in the main lobby under the Compliments and Complaints board.
- Online at https://yakimapolice.org/filing-complaint-misconduct/
- Phone App: Link available through the Yakima PD Phone Application.
Is the police making an effort to reach and interact with Yakima’s youth?
Yes. The Yakima Police Department has several programs which they utilize to reach Yakima’s youth.
- School Resource Officers: Yakima Police School Resource Officers (SRO) are police officers who are assigned to schools in the Yakima School District. The main goal of the SRO is to provide security and to prevent juvenile delinquency by promoting positive relations between youth and law enforcement.
- Cupcakes with a Cop: Introduced by Yakima Parks and Recreation and held at Roosevelt Elementary School, this program encourages building relationships between officers and our youngest community members.
- Training / Officers are available upon request to for school / community visits. Make a presentation request via the Yakima Police Department website at: https://yakimapolice.org/
- Popsicles in the Park: This program held in Yakima City Parks during the summer months creates opportunities for the Officers to engage in a safe and fun environment with Yakima’s younger community members.
Yakima Police Department Officers also volunteer their personal time coaching several local sports teams and participating in Yakima Police Activities League (YPAL) events.
Does a person being charged for a crime have the ability to know the identity of the witness who reported them?
Yes; however they would need to submit a Public Disclosure Request to the City to receive that information.
Do all officers live in the city of Yakima?
No, Officers are not required to live within city limits.
Are there “beat” officers assigned to each of the nine districts?
Due to staffing through the majority of the day, there are Officers in all 9 Districts; however, there are times when there may not be.