Staying one step ahead of criminals in Hermiston

HERMISTON, Ore. -- At first glance, the job is the same for Hermiston police: patrol local streets to keep families safe.

"Something bad happens and the police respond. We're trying to get in front of that and stop things before they happen," says Chief Jason Edmiston.

A new police unit called the Criminal Apprehension Team makes it all possible. Also known as the CAT team, two officers now track certain crime trends and then focus on those crimes before they get out of hand.

Take home burglaries, for example. If police notice a certain neighborhood is being hit more than others, the CAT Team will focus solely on that area until crooks are hauled away in a patrol car.

By focusing on specific areas with specific problems, it's a way to isolate those crimes before they spread to the whole community.

In just a single week, the Criminal Apprehension Team has already arrested three people for things like drugs and vandalism.

"We send them the message that if you choose to come here and engage in crime, you should expect contact from our department," says Chief Edmiston.

Last year, crime dropped 12% in Hermiston. The goal is to keep that trend alive with a new form of patrols.