FW mayor announces new Violent Crimes Task Force

The number one priority of the task force will be to solve recent crimes, then expand to past violent crimes.

Mayor Jim Ferrell announced April 12 that he has directed the Federal Way Police Department to form a Violent Crime Task Force.

The action is in response to the shooting that resulted in the death of 2-year-old the week before and an additional shooting the same day on Pacific Highway.

“Who are these people that are in our community that think they can commit these brazen acts in broad daylight? Where are they? And who are they with?” Ferrell asked. Using a methodical approach to evaluate the evidence, he said the task force will focus on getting answers to these questions. The goal is to get to the root cause of this particular level of violence demonstrated in the recent shooting near IHOP on Southwest Campus Drive and other incidents.

The task force will look into whether this violence is connected to larger patterns around illegal guns or drugs, and why the individual in the restaurant’s parking lot, father of two, was targeted.

Ferrell said in an interview that the task force will be staffed in such a way that there will be coverage at all times to focus on making rapid progress.

“We want to make sure we’ve got some flexibility, so on any particular day, it’ll be between probably five and six [officers]. And then it will comprise many more than that on a day to day basis,” Ferrell said. “That also will include … command staff and supervisors that are involved.”

The number one priority of the task force will be to solve the recent crimes, then expand to past violent crimes.

“Our patrol officers are busy all day long answering and responding to 911 calls,” Ferrell said. “Our detectives, whether they’re violent crime detectives, or property crime detectives, have a caseload and they’re working on things and things get added to them.”

The task force will add “the dexterity and the flexibility to not be so constrained by individual cases and be able to do this extra investigative work to root out what’s happening,” Ferrell said.

Other FWPD teams that focus on crime impacting the Federal Way community include Special Operations Units that focus more on street-level patrols. Current Special Operations Units focus on incidents like retail crime and drug use and tend to respond to incidents while they are happening.

The violent crimes task force will use a different approach and engages a strategy that Federal Way has not seen before, according to Ferrell. In addition to putting emphasis on looking for larger patterns of crime and allocating dedicated hours to thorough and methodical investigation, the task force will also work with neighboring police agencies and even federal partners if need be.

“We’ll reach out to the FBI, ATF, anybody that will help us, if we need any expertise in any particular fields,” Ferrell said. “We will likely be in coordination and consultation with the King County prosecutor’s office, to consult with them as things move forward with the King County Sheriff’s Office.”