Yakima officers fired fewer shots in 2012

Yakima officers fired fewer shots in 2012 »Play Video
YAKIMA, Wash. -- We start the new year with positive signs about crime for the year just ended. Crimes like murder and shots fired calls went down in Yakima. On top of that, Yakima police didn't fire their guns as often.

It's a police officer's last resort. A line of defense only used in a desperate situation. A situation like the officer involved shooting on North 34th Avenue in October. A bloody hotel room leads YPD to a Yakima man armed with a rifle in his backyard. When the man fired, Yakima police fired back. But, the bullet that killed him was his own.

That officer involved shooting was the only one in 2012. The only other time an officer fired his or her weapon was at a dog -- on two separate occasions.

It's a major contrast from 2011 when officers pulled the trigger four times and killed two men. That was more than any other time in the department's history.

People we spoke with say they're justified.

"When their lives are being threatened or something along those lines, I think it's absolutely fair for them to match that force and neutralize any kind of force and protect themselves," said Yakima man Michael Bohm.

Yakima police tell us nothing has changed -- except crime. Violent crime is down in Yakima. Officers faced fewer standoffs and hostage situations.

Police tell us the protocol is only to shoot when their lives are at risk. There's simply no way to determine how 2013 will compare.

Before 2011, Yakima police didn't have a deadly officer-involved shooting since 2007. Prosecutors determined officers were justified in the 2011 shootings.