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Spokane County leaders work together to see reduction in gun violence

From January to Saturday, June 25, SPD has responded to 81 total shootings with more than half of that total being drive-by shootings.

SPOKANE, Wash. — In a joint press conference Thursday, Spokane County leaders reaffirmed their message to the community that violent crime will not be tolerated.

The Spokane County Board of Commissioners, Spokane and Spokane Valley mayors, county prosecutors and law enforcement are all saying enough is enough.

These leaders said they are disturbed by the increased violence in the region. So, they are working together to see a reduction in gun violence that appears to be plaguing the community.

Spokane Mayor Nadine Woodward brought forward the latest data from the Spokane Police department. From January to Saturday, June 25, SPD has responded to 81 total shootings, with more than half of that total being drive-by shootings.

At this rate, Mayor Woodward believes we're on track to surpass last year's total shootings, which she said were the highest in six years.

"Criminals who perpetuate violence in our community know no boundaries," Mayor Woodward said. "That's why we are here with our regional partners to go after those who are wreaking havoc in our neighborhoods, on our streets and in our communities."

Mayor Woodward and Spokane Police Chief Craig Meidl recently formed the violent crimes task force in response to the uptick in shootings.

In the meantime, the board of county commissioners just gave the sheriff's office $100,000 to fund deputy overtime. Spokane Valley Mayor Pam Haley said she would also be asking the city council to allocate $100,000 to law enforcement over time.

Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich blames state lawmakers for removing tools from law enforcement that help keep violent offenders off the streets.

He also added his thoughts on how progress should be measured.

"Purest answer to that question is the absence of violence," Knezovich said.

In his closing remarks, Sheriff Knezovich spoke directly to gang members and drug dealers.

"We are coming for you," Knezovich said. "Take notice."

Watch the full presser below:

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