Letter: Approve public safety tax

June 3, 2014 

Our area, like many, is plagued by criminal gang violence. I am writing this letter on behalf of FIRME to encourage support of our organization and of the Benton County public safety sales tax.

Kennewick Police Chief Ken Hohenberg stated this is not a problem that just enforcement can handle. The best way to address this is to combine enforcement with prevention and intervention. At-risk youth in our community need our help in providing them with an alternative to gang life. We utilize classes, relationship, mentoring and evidence-based results to reach out to our youth and make a change.

FIRME has been fortunate to receive a grant that has allowed us to compile valuable data so that we can help to concentrate our community's efforts to combat the spread of gangs.

The Benton County public safety sales tax will boost enforcement efforts, but just as importantly provide for much needed gang prevention programs.

By avoiding incarceration expenses, the taxpayer benefits from each youth that decides to not join a gang. It not only makes financial sense to support the public safety sales tax, but is the right thing to do on behalf of our youth.

JAMES WADE, FIRME

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