Lynnwood Police Department joins county’s Regional Violent Crime Reduction Unit

Lynnwood Police Chief Jim Nelson

The Lynnwood Police Department on Thursday joined the Everett Police Department, Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office, Snohomish County Prosecutor’s Office and the Federal Bureau of Investigation in launching a Regional Violent Crime Reduction Unit to target the rise in violent crime, especially crimes involving firearms, in the county.

Throughout 2022, southern Snohomish County has seen a notable increase in violent and gun-related crimes. To address this issue, the five agencies are dedicating resources and collaborating on efforts to reduce violent crime in the Everett, Lynnwood and South County region.

The Everett Police Department will lead the unit.

“We have seen a steady increase in violent crime and crimes involving guns in our community and the individuals responsible do not recognize jurisdictional boundaries,” said Everett Police Chief Dan Templeman in a press release issued Thursday morning. “By partnering with other affected communities, we are able to increase our effectiveness throughout the region and improve safety for all our residents.”

The Lynnwood Police Special Operations Section will be directly collaborating with the other agencies in the unit working to prevent violent crimes from continuing in the county. According to Lynnwood Police Chief Jim Nelson, while the section should consist of one deputy and four officers, because of staffing shortages, it has just a deputy and a single officer.

However, Nelson said the department representatives are hard working and he believes they will be a great asset to the unit.

“We have a great relationship in our county with working collaboratively on these kinds of things,” Nelson said. “It’s a unified proactive effort and I think we’ll do great work together.”

Officers from each jurisdiction will combine into one team to address, mitigate, investigate and suppress violent crime. This unit will also include representation from the Snohomish County Prosecutor’s Office to ensure that violent crime offenders are held accountable.

“The Prosecutor’s Office stands ready, willing and able to assist our local and federal partners in this important, targeted effort to enhance our response to the burgeoning impact of violent crime on our communities,” Snohomish County Prosecutor Adam Cornell said.

Nelson said the unit has two goals: to serve justice to those who have already committed crimes and to become a force that prevents future crimes from being committed.

“We don’t really have a set number [for our goals],” Nelson said. “I can’t really say, ‘We want to put 50 [criminals] in jail.’ Sure, we want to bring to justice those who have committed crimes. But if we can prevent 50 other crimes from happening, that’s harder to measure, but I’m hoping we can deter more criminals from wanting to be here and do harm to the community.”

The unit will also have an intervention component in cooperation with the Federal Bureau of Investigation. This unique component will identify individuals, often children, who are being exploited by criminal groups to participate in criminal activity and provide them with resources and alternatives to address violent crime behaviors.
“It’s difficult to conceive of more appalling acts than when adults manipulate children,” said FBI Seattle Field Office’s Assistant Special Agent Kelly Smith. “Our goal in support of this multi-disciplinary team is to offer help to at-risk youth who are being exploited by people with ties to violent crime in the north sound region.”

Nelson said the unit is not expected to be a permanent fixture in South Snohomish County, but an end date has not yet been discussed.

— By Lauren Reichenbach

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