County renews auto theft task force

The Pierce County Council at its July 5 meeting unanimously approved authorizing the renewal of the Puget Sound Auto Theft Task Force with some changes in the organization’s membership.

The Port of Seattle and the cities of Buckley, Kent and Puyallup are new to the task force, while the offices of the King County and Pierce County prosecutors are removed as signing participants to the agreement, which was established in 2017.

“The key points are any staff assigned to the task force, including the Pierce County Sheriff’s staff, remain employees of Pierce County,” explained principle policy analyst William Bridges. “And all the officers assigned to the task force must follow their home jurisdictions’ rules if there are any conflicts with rules and operational procedures of the task force.”

Pierce County Sheriff’s Department Chief of Investigations Kevin Roberts said the task force plays an important role in dealing with an issue that plagues the area.

“On the department side of it, we just appreciate your support,” he told the council. “This is integral to our abilities to multiply our resources and more effectively address what you are very well aware is a major issue in the region, as well as Pierce County with auto thefts.”

Council Chair Derek Young agreed.

“We’ve long had an issue with car theft … but I think the thing that’s changed recently is the amount of them that seem to be effectively a vehicle, so to speak, for facilitating a secondary crime,” he said. “So, the car is stolen in order to commit other more serious acts.”

On July 5, the Puget Sound Auto Theft Task Force on its Facebook page reported nearly 50 vehicle thefts in Pierce County over the Fourth of July holiday weekend, ranging from near-violent encounters to stolen catalytic converters in cities and unincorporated areas throughout the county.

In other business, the council passed a resolution dedicating the month of July as “LGBTQ+ Pride Month” in Pierce County.


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