Pasco's new Street Crimes Unit more than doubled its number of arrests in its second month of operations, city officials said Friday.
The unit comprising one sergeant and three officers arrested 63 people in its first two months, or almost three per work day, a news release said. The police department had reported 26 arrests in the unit's first month.
The unit was formed in late 2012 by authorization of the city council, which also agreed to pay for it using about 40 percent of the city's portion of the public safety sales tax approved by Franklin County voters in November 2011. Most of the tax is paying for the $20 million Franklin County jail expansion and remodel, and new Pasco Municipal Court space.
The $450,000 price tag for the unit covers payroll for the four officers, plus equipment costs including four new unmarked police cars, special vests and other police equipment.
The unit started operations in January with a mission to tackle street crimes that could include gang activity or serial crimes such as a rash of burglaries.
It is comparable to Kennewick's Criminal Apprehension Team and Richland's Street Crimes Unit, which replaced its Proactive Anti-Crime Team.
City officials on Friday said the new unit has arrested 39 documented gang members and cleared 80 outstanding warrants. The team's work has resulted in 30 criminal charges being filed.