If the Hermiston Police Department is successful in meeting its goals for 2014, residents could see a new unit on the streets dedicated to implementing a zero-tolerance policy toward crime, particularly gang-related incidents.

Chief Jason Edmiston recently released the stated goals for his department, which include an emphasis on customer service, predictive policing strategies, traffic concerns and issues impacting the “liveability” of residents. Edmiston said the Street Crime Unit will operate independently of traditional patrol units.

“This will be a dedicated two-officer team free from the regular call for service routine with an emphasis of aggressive targeting of those persons choosing to adversely target our citizenry,” Edmiston said in a prepared statement. “I envision this unit being an extension of patrol yet having flexibility to travel to places outside our immediate jurisdiction for arrest purposes should our department have reason to arrest someone who only comes to Hermiston to engage in illegal activity yet they live somewhere else.”

Edmiston said, the primary objectives of the Street Crimes Unit will be the reduction and or elimination of auto thefts, burglaries, criminal narcotic activity, criminal gang activity and car prowling.

He said he hopes to have the unit on the streets by late January or early February.

Edmiston said while he has set high expectations for the unit, its tactics will remain consistent with the ethical principles of the Hermiston Police Department.

“I believe, with the right controls in place with regard to supervision, we can operate in this manner while never compromising our integrity,” Edmiston said in his statement.

Other goals outlined in the plan include implementing a policing strategy that uses intelligence and analysis for crime prevention.

Increasing the presence of officers at city meetings and functions to serve as community ambassadors and increasing traffic enforcement along the Highway 395 corridor will also be priorities.

Edmiston said the force will also focus on issues that improve quality of life for residents by dealing with noise and animal complaints, code issues and drug enforcement.

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