Crime, News, Politics

Chief of Police Says Dismantling Gang Unit “Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time”

KOMO News (RVP news partner)

RAINIER VALLEY – Seattle’s Chief of Police John Diaz recently admitted that gang-related crime increased in the Rainier Valley after he decided to pull two police gang units off the streets.

At a packed community meeting on February 7th, Diaz recalled a budgetary decision eight years ago that diverted gang detectives to 911 calls.

“The idea was, and Ill take responsibility for that idea, that we could put a couple of those gang detective squads back into the precincts and that they would continue to do that work as they were hailing 911 calls,” Diaz said. “It seemed like a good idea at the time. It didn’t work.”

The two gang-detective squads have since been reinstated, but Diaz said police cannot be the only ones who fight gangs.

“The idea that we can arrest our way out of the situation is not going to work,” Diaz said.

Rainier Valley neighbors are reeling from a series of high-profile street crimes over the past few months, including the murder of hairdresser Danny Vega last November.

Diaz promises police will get the worst offenders off the streets if neighbors will help offer children alternatives to gang life.