Gang sweep arrests more than two dozen

A crackdown on gangs in the Tri-Cities has more than two dozen people behind bars tonight.

Police say they took thug after thug off the street for causing trouble here in the Tri-Cities.

"I don't want to have to go into a McDonald's and have someone come and shooting somebody," said Pasco resident Sandra Koch.

Koch is like most people in the Tri-Cities. She wants gang activity gone.

"They don't value life or property of anybody else's," added Koch.

It's why she was relieved to hear of the recent crackdown on gang members.

"It always helps. We want to push them out," explained Koch.

Across the Tri-Cities, police hoped to find 66 people in all.
They arrested a little less than half of that in this sweep.
14 face felony charges.

"We don't always find everybody," said Gang Detective Dan Long.

The most arrests were made in Pasco -- followed closely by Kennewick. Benton County had one arrest.

"It's not a Pasco problem. It's not a Kennewick problem. It's not a Richland problem. It's a Tri-City problem," said Pasco Police Chief Bob Metzger.

Richland had a number of targets...but none were picked up in this sweep.

"We're trying to send a message back to them that - you guys are the latest to be engaging in this violence and we don't tolerate it here," added Detective Long.

At a news conference, police also told KEPR gang violence doubled in Kennewick since last year.

"We attract that behavior, unfortunately. But we're also dealing with it," stated Kennewick Police Chief Ken Hohenberg.

There was also a sharp increase in gang members carrying guns.
Up to 18 incidences reported, compared to just five last year.
Police welcome the change.

"As a result of good, diligent police work, you're seeing those numbers go up as well," said Chief Hohenberg.

It's one sweep closer to cracking down on gangs trying to infiltrate our community.

Both police and Koch acknowledge -- it's an ongoing battle.

"It's not going away none too soon," said Koch.

Police tell us it's important gang members aren't just pushed into other cities like Yakima, Walla Walla or Hermiston.

That only provides a short-term solution.

They work with police in neighboring communities to offer a long term solution -- locking gang bangers up once and for all.