Wash. sheriff's office announces plan to acquire new $350K armored vehicle

A commissioner highlighted three local officer-involved shootings within the past two months as a reason for purchasing the vehicle to protect officers


By Phil Ferolito
Yakima Herald-Republic

YAKIMA, Wash. — The Yakima County Sheriff's Office will get a new armored vehicle to assist deputies responding to violent crime.

During a Monday study session, Yakima County commissioners agreed to award the sheriff's office $350,000 in American Rescue Plan Act funds for the purchase.

Commissioners are expected to finalize the award during next week's regular business meeting.

Commissioner LaDon Linde, who presented the request, said the sheriff's office has two old Army surplus armored vehicles; one is out of service and the other experiences frequent problems.

The sheriff's office responds to its share of violent crime, and an operable armored vehicle is needed to help protect deputies, he said.

Linde highlighted three officer-involved shootings on or near the Yakama Reservation within the past two months; two involved deputies and one involved a Yakama Tribal Police officer.

On Aug. 6, deputies and shot and killed a man in a Zillah vineyard following a pursuit. On Sept. 22, deputies shot and killed a suspect they were pursuing near Wapato. In the August incident, the suspect fired on deputies, authorities said.

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"We need a new vehicle to protect our officers during high-risk incidents like these," he said. "Simply put, we need to give our law enforcement the tools they need to stay safe as we ask them to protect us and intervene in high-risk situations."

Commissioners Ron Anderson and Amanda McKinney agreed with the request. McKinney said a new armored vehicle will help the sheriff's office to continue its commitment to provide law enforcement on the 10.3-million-acre reservation.

"They're part of our community and we'll still continue to provide public safety to the Yakama Nation," she said.

Commissioners are also discussed a funding request for the creation of a "proactive unit" within the sheriff's office. Linde said he's asked Sheriff Robert Udell to produce a budget of the unit, which the commission expects to review on Friday.

The proactive unit would consist of a sergeant and four deputies who will conduct intense management of criminal hotspots in the county. The unit would work with the new regional crime lab, Linde said.

Commissioners have already awarded $2.8 million in ARPA funds for a regional crime lab.

The sheriff's office requested

$4.4 million over a five-year period for the proactive unit. Linde said he asked the sheriff's office to recalculate the request over a four-year period, which would coincide with the ARPA funding cycles.

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