About the Investigative Division
The South Bend Police Department Investigative Division handles the investigation and case summary for crimes after being reported by street patrol officers.
The division is comprised of approximately 65 sworn and civilian personnel, assigned to a wide variety of duties. Main responsibilities of the Investigative Division are to investigate major crimes against persons to include, robbery, homicide, suspicious deaths, domestic violence (repeat offenders) and aggravated assaults. Other crimes, such as fraud, vandalism and other crimes against property or persons are also handled by the Investigative Division.
There is a detective investigator on-call 24 hours a day to respond to major crimes at a moments notice. Each detective rotates the call-out for a week at a time, but there have been numerous occasions when the detectives are called away from home even when it is not their call-out week.
These detectives are trained and knowledgeable investigators, dedicated to the City of South Bend and it's Citizens. Major Crimes Detectives are able to follow leads on a case that a normal patrol officer would not have the time or resources to complete. Detectives use many different resources during their investigations including, computer databases, other law enforcement agencies, medical facilities, federal agencies, voice stress analysis/polygraph interviews and surveillance.
What Happens After A Crime Is Reported.
Any criminal case that requires investigation to document the facts is directed to this division for assignment to a detective. Each case will be analyzed and either assigned to an investigator or closed, depending on that case's solvability factors.
Almost every police organization that employs full time investigators uses a version of this system to assign cases. If certain basic facts are known, (such as the suspect's name or nickname, suspect's vehicle information, a perpetrator's home or work location, the individual's associates, or a valuable piece of physical evidence) this can lead investigators on a clear path to resolve the case. Without a distinct degree of " lead " information, these cases have almost no potential for resolution.
The information gained in the original case report, even cases lacking solvability factors, can be helpful in establishing valuable information showing crime patterns. This can lead to increased patrols in various neighborhoods, and later, if a suspect is developed, a formerly unassigned case can be resolved.
Most cases are sent to General Assignment Investigators, however, certain cases are sent directly to the Prosecutor's Office, or assigned to specialty units. For information on specialty units within the Investigative Division, click a link below.
A Look At Units Within The Investigative Division:
Fraud Unit: The Fraud Unit Investigators are specialists in collar crimes. This can include check deceptions, forgery, embezzlement, and identity theft cases.
Family Violence and Special Victims Unit: The St. Joseph County Family Violence and Special Victim s Unit is a multi-jurisdictional task force that investigates all victims of domestic violence and sexual assaults in the South Bend/St. Joseph County area. The South Bend Police Department contributes about half the manpower to the unit, which is partially funded through the office of St. Joseph County Prosecutor, Michael Dvorak. These specialists deal with the victims of sexual assault and domestic violence. They have a unique relationship with area social services agencies and victim advocate groups. This allows them to assist in both the prosecution of the offender and looking after the well being of the victim.
School Resource Officers: The School Resource Officer (SRO) program was started in South Bend in 1997 through a Federal Grant. Through this grant we have a Police Officer assigned to all of South Bend's High Schools. A major role for the SRO is to bridge the gap between the students and those in authority, especially police officers. These officers work towards building a trust between the student and him/herself which leads to a positive attitude towards all law enforcement. The SRO is used in many capacities while in the school setting.
Pawn Shop Investigations: In an effort to stop the average thief's reason to steal , the South Bend Police Department committed manpower and technology to keeping track of pawned merchandise in our area. The specialists that oversee this program use the computerized records of local pawn shops to keep a database that is constantly compared to merchandise reported stolen to our department. Although the system works very well, and we enjoy a good relationship with our local pawn brokers, it can only be successful if the public keeps accurate records of their property.
Operation Drug-Fire: In cooperation with the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms, and the Indiana State Police, the South Bend Police Department participates in the federal " Drug-Fire " program. This program involves utilizing state-of-the-art technology to match fired gun ammunition to guns used in crimes. Using a sophisticated computer program, a digital imaging unit can "look" at fired handgun casings and store each guns unique characteristics in it's memory. Later, if that gun is used in a crime, the ammunition we find at today's crime scene can be matched with a handgun used months or years ago. The whole concept is kind of like fingerprints or DNA, only it matches weapons instead of people. And when all the evidence you have is a fired cartridge-casing, that can help a lot.
MSOS: Narcotics Investigations. The Metro Special Operations Section, or MSOS, is a group of selected officers from the three major local Police Departments within St Joseph County. They act as a clearing house for information relating to drug enforcement as well as being responsible for narcotic and related investigations.
To report information or suspicious activity concerning drugs or their usage, please contact this unit at 574-235-9406, between the hours of 8:00 A.M. and 4:00 P.M. After hours, you will be connected to an answering system to record your confidential message.