City of Pasco had no murders in 2019

PASCO, Wash. — Officers have worked diligently to keep crime at bay in the City of Pasco. In 2019, they did not have a single murder.

In 2018, the police department investigated six. However, officers can’t pinpoint one reason why they didn’t have any last year.

“There’s a lot of variables that go into why we had homicides or why we didn’t,” said Pasco Chief of Police Ken Roske. “I’m not sure I or anybody can put one finger or their polts on exactly what caused that or why we didn’t have any.”

He does have a few ideas.

“We made a specific emphasis on gang activity, drug activity — more so as we solve those crimes increase as we got into ’19,” he explained. “Hard work by our detective division and our Street Crimes Unit putting resources together.”

According to Franklin County Coroner Curtis McGary, there were technically six homicides. However, those were either officer-involved shootings, fatal crashes or drug overdoses. No pre-meditated murders were reported.

In 2018, Roske said some of the murders were drug-related. He added that crimes of passions that result in a murder are hard to predict or prevent.

“We’re arresting more people of crimes leading up prior to the violence of actual homicide,” Roske said. “We’re really getting in front of those before the crimes actually — or the violent crime because we’re working on the lesser, smaller crimes.”

One of the large successes for the department is the arrest rate for murders. According to Pasco Police, out of the 12 murders and three cold cases from 2015-2019 — those were all solved.

“That’s an astronomical clearance rate for a detective division,” Roske said.

Their Street Crimes Unit also plays a major part in combatting crime.

“Our Street Crimes Unit is able to quickly maneuver at those crimes that are occurring that patrol sees and before detectives get the opportunity to put a case together and send them to court,” he explained. “Our Street Crimes Unit is very swift.”

Roske said any violent crime is a top priority. He explained that crime has reduced by 80% since the 80s and 90s.

“I’m pleased at the public safety aspect that we’re able to play a part in as the police department,” Roske said. “Anybody living in the Tri-Cities, anybody living in Pasco — our mission is to make sure that they feel safe in their environment.”