BPD criminal investigations different from “Law and Order”

While shows like “Law and order” make being a detective as easy as taking fingerprints and DNA in a minute and collecting evidence while dealing with fast-paced situations like chasing suspects or getting caught in a police raid. hostage, Detective Jason Webber, a member of the Burlington Police Department‘s Criminal Investigations Division, told members of the 18th TPL Citizen Academy that real life has nothing to do with TV.

“CID is the slow side of the job,” Webber said.

Webster told the group gathered inside the station on Tuesday that the vast majority of CID’s work is done on the computer – writing reports, collecting evidence and helping the prosecutor put together his case.

Officers compile reports that start as a small folder of Manila Files and over time grow to include new evidence and reports. Every officer who touches a file must write a report, even if they only ask a potential witness if they heard something and the person says no. Handwritten notes and recorded interviews should also be included in the file. The Kedarie Johnson murder case now occupies two large filing cabinets.

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Criminal records should be kept while the person is serving their sentence and if the case is still unsolved and considered a cold case. Cold cases are reopened every few years. Webster explained that this is because technology changes and sometimes a fresh look can bring out a new idea. the department hopes to solve the 1969 murder of real estate agent Dorothy Miller through advances in DNA technology and access to ancestry-based DNA data banks.

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While fingerprinting may seem like a simple process on TV, Detective Tyler Henning said that in reality, getting even usable fingerprints from a flat, smooth surface can be nearly impossible due to the complexity. and the risk of process errors. In his four years as a police officer, Henning said he only passed twice. Photographing the fingerprints that have been taken can help reduce the risk of error, but Henning said it’s not the preferred method.

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And while TV sleuths can separate DNA into two or three suspects, it can be nearly impossible to do so without having DNA from someone known to have contributed to the mix.

Becoming a detective is not a promotion, and it’s not a permanent gig. Officers enlist for five years and return to patrol when their enlistment is over. Working as a detective is expected to be a learning experience for officers.

Webber, the moment of complete satisfaction for detectives is not when the arrest is made, but when a person is convicted of a crime.

Mark M. Gagnon