Criminal Investigations Division
Major Paul Thurman
Investigations Division Commander
The division is comprised of four units: Criminal Investigations, Drug Enforcement, CrimeLab,and the Career Criminal. Each unit’s primary responsibility is the follow-up investigation of criminal offenses.
In 2009, the Career Criminal Unit was formed to aggressively pursue those who choose to commit crimes instead of living productive lives in society. The Division is also actively involved with the Child Protection Center, the Jackson County Drug Task Force, Regional Cybercrimes Forensic Lab, the Metro Squad, FBI Cybercrimes Task Force and the ATF Task Force.
The Criminal Investigations Unit is responsible for investigating cases in the traditional areas of crimes against property and crimes against persons. There is also a Domestic Violence Team which investigates crimes against family members and Orders of Protection Violations.
The city is divided into four quadrants. Each quadrant is assigned a Sergeant and six Detectives. The Detectives are responsible for investigating cases within their assigned quadrant and will assist with large scale investigations in other quadrants as needed. The Detectives receive annual training from nationally known trainers to keep apprised of changes in the laws and techniques dealing with criminal investigation. Training has been provided on interview and interrogations techniques, domestic violence, financial crimes and others.
Housed on the second floor of the Central Police Building in Independence, is one of only 11 operating crime laboratories located in the state of Missouri. Staffed by only 10 employees, the Independence Crime Laboratory serves not only the City of Independence, but 14 other agencies. The laboratory does crime scene processing, fingerprint analysis, and drug and alcohol testing for the various agencies. These services are provided by four disciplines within the laboratory, those being the Crime Scene Unit, Latent Prints, Controlled Substances, and Toxicology.
The Crime Scene Unit consists of five crime scene investigators who have been certified by the International Association of Identification. The duties of the investigators include documenting scenes with photographs,videos, drawings, and written reports. They are also responsible for identifying,collecting, processing, and preserving physical evidence.
The Latent Prints section examines fingerprints, palm prints, and shoe impressions left at crime scenes. If the prints contain useable detail, they are compared against the known prints of potential suspects. In the case of fingerprints, if a suspect is not known, the latent fingerprint can be entered into a database known as AFIS (Automated Fingerprint Identification System). In 2009, a total of 1,390 latent prints were evaluated. Of those prints, 305 contained useable detail that led to 90 identifications. Also of note in 2009 was the comparison and match of a shoe print left by a suspect in the robbery of a local pizza restaurant. The suspect in that case is believed to be responsible for numerous armed robberies that were committed throughout the Kansas City area.
Controlled Substances and Toxicology sections are two disciplines in the laboratory that are manned by the department’s only two chemists. Drugs, urine, and blood alcohol are all tested by the forensic chemists using state of-the-art equipment that includes the Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometer and a Fourier Transform Infra-Red Spectrometer. They process 75 to 100 drug cases per month. There was a larger demand for the chemists services in 2009 because of an increase of illicit tablet manufacture moving from Ecstasy tablets(MDMA ) to BZP tablets (Benzylpiperazine-mimic ecstasy tablets).