Yakima crooks using police resources against them

Yakima crooks using police resources against them
YAKIMA - Along with their weapons, radio scanners are the most important tool for police officers. But KIMA learned they're now often working against them. We discovered the scanner phone app is becoming more popular and it's the crooks who tune in and bolt the second the police get a call. So now, YPD is changing its tactics.

KIMA was there when Lance Nanampkin and Yakima Police exchanged dozens of shots back in August. That's how the incident ended, but it began with a high speed chase over the stretch of nearly 30 miles for nearly 30 minutes. That could have been shorter as area law enforcement set up barriers in his path. However, there was a problem. Detectives say Nanamkin found out where they were the same time officers tracked him. He had a scanner.

KIMA also learned he's far from the only criminal using this police resource to gain an advantage.

"Criminals have the same technology as the police, there’s no public safety,” said Mark Richardson. “It makes me very uncomfortable."

Neighbors like Richardson aren't the one's feeling uneasy, especially when getting a scanner is as easy as downloading an app.

"They’ll hear that, they know we're coming,” said Sgt. Erik Hildebrand. “Boom they're gone."

So, what’s the department doing to prevent that? Using more technology.

“A lot of things we'll do over cell phone,” said Hildebrand. “If our dispatchers see the type of call where that would be an issue, they'll call the officer."

They aren't just using their cell phones to get ahead of these crooks, but also their computers. Here's how it works: dispatch will assign a call to a number and the officers responding can click on that number to see the details. They're not broadcast for everyone to hear.

"We've had citizens call in and say this person has a scanner,” Hildebrand said. “If we get sent to a house or something, they know to put it out like that."

Simply putting it out like that, instead of the old fashion way, could mean one less crook roaming your streets.

Police tell us in high intensity calls like Nanamkin's where there's a high speed chase, messaging will not be used because there simply is not enough time.