Local law enforcement agencies in new cooperation effort - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Local law enforcement agencies in new cooperation effort


More often than not, the words, ‘Partners in Crime' might hint at something negative.

But, when it comes to local law enforcement agencies sharing resources, like fingerprint or polygraph experts, it's a good thing. These local agencies quickly become ‘Partners in Crime Solving,' and that is saving tax payers money and solving more area crimes. 

It's all part of a new plan of cooperation which is paying big dividends for the Black Hawk County Sheriff's Department and Waterloo and Cedar Falls Police.

"We're doing more with less," says Sheriff Tony Thompson. "We're able to collaborate more. We're able to partner more. We're able to share ideas and information."

For example, Waterloo Police officer, Rob Duncan, is an expert polygraph examiner, whose lie detector expertise is used by all of the area departments.

"We all share a philosophy. We have the same ideas, in regards to strategies. We simple have a dialog and by having all three of us together, we're all showing results and that's exciting," Director of Waterloo's Safety Services Dan Trelka said.

All three departments save time and money by sharing resources and avoiding duplication.

"We don't all need one. So, we get together and say, I'll have a handwriting expert. You'll have a fingerprinting person. Maybe you can have a dog and we won't. It's that kind of thing. A collaborative effort of sharing resources and we don't have to duplicate," Cedar Falls Police Chief Jeff Olson said.

The agencies already share the non-stop efforts of Black Hawk County's emergency dispatch service, which handles all emergency calls. They work together on the Tri-County Drug Task Force and Gang Task Force. Black Hawk County's Gang Task Force representative comes from the Jail Division. The jail provides a wealth of information for law enforcement, especially when inmates are willing to cooperate with and give information to officers.

Another area of cooperation is in fingerprinting. For Cedar Falls Police officer Brian Shock, it's all about the evidence. Brian is a Cedar Falls CSI—A Crime Scene Investigator, specializing in fingerprints.

"It's detail oriented. Tracking down clues, and putting the puzzle together. Finding out who actually did the crime, and getting that closure to the victim; that's the ultimate goal," Shock said.

Shock is an FBI trained fingerprint expert.

"Fingerprints are really unique. You know, DNA itself is unique, but identical twins have the same DNA, where fingerprints, no one has the same fingerprint." Fingerprints are more unique than DNA in a sense," Shock said.

In the U.S., fingerprints must be verified by a second expert, so Shock must have the prints he processes compared and verified by Steve Petersen of the Black Hawk County Sheriff's office. And this cooperation among agencies locally is solving more and more local crimes.

"If I have a fingerprint, I'll go to him. If he has a fingerprint, he'll come to me. Cooperation is key to law enforcement," Shock said.

Shock plans to continue his specialized training, including shoe and foot ware evidence found at a crime scene.

"Our goal here is to do as much in house, so we don't have to ship it out," Shock said.

Keeping it ‘in house' saves a tremendous amount of time and money for the local law enforcement agencies.

"These intelligence facts are fluid. We have this vast intelligence network we utilize to our advantage," Trelka said.

Waterloo and Black Hawk County also share the resources of the Consolidated Crime Lab, located in the basement of Waterloo City Hall.

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