Local law enforcement renews emphasis on gangs

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by HAYLEY GUENTHNER & KREM.com

KREM.com

Posted on June 12, 2014 at 5:44 PM

Updated Thursday, Jun 12 at 11:08 PM

SPOKANE, Wash. – Law enforcement agencies all over the region and local prosecutors are putting more resources than ever into getting gang members locked up and keeping them there.

Donna Nicols and her neighbors look forward to summer all year. They said with the good weather though comes bad behavior from Spokane gang members.

“They trash neighborhoods, vandalize homes. There’s a lot of gang members running around, a lot of people who claim gangs,” said Nicols.

Area law enforcement said they are sick of people feeling like they have to tiptoe around their neighborhoods.  Prosecutors have also expanded their gang unit and it is bigger than ever.

“We have four attorneys. They are working hard and trying to get the most jail time as possible,” said Prosecuting Attorney Steve Tucker.

They are doing that through gang enhancements. It is similar to a weapons enhancement the court system commonly sees. It can add years onto a sentence.

A jury recently checked yes on a special verdict form for the gang enhancement in the Thomas Weatherwax assault case.

KREM 2 was told it resulted in a big chunk of time added on to his sentence. Prosecuting Attorney Steve Tucker said that is what his team dedicates their days to make living condition better for people affected by gangs.

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