New cooperation yields cost saving dividends - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Partners In Crime: New cooperation yields cost saving dividends


As tight budgets impact city and county governments, local law enforcement agencies are cooperating more than ever before.

"The Gang Task is a great example of that. Our representatives on the Gang Task Force come from the Jail Division," Black Hawk County Sheriff Tony Thompson said.

The local agencies are trying to avoid duplication whenever possible.

 "We don't all three need them. It's a collaborative sharing effort and we don't have to duplicate," Cedar Falls Police Chief Jeff Olson said.

More often than not, the words, ‘Partners in Crime' night 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.'

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," Sheriff Tony Thompson said. "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," Director of Waterloo's Safety Service Dan Trelka said. We simple have a dialog and by having all three of us together, we're all showing results and that's exciting."

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," Olson said. "It's that kind of thing. A collaborative effort of sharing resources and we don't have to duplicate."

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 Crime Scene Investigator (CSI), specializing in fingerprints.

Of his job, Brian says "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."

Brian is an FBI trained fingerprint expert. He points out, "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."

In the U.S. fingerprints must be verified by a second expert, so Brian must have the prints he processes compared and verified by Steve Petersen of the BH 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," Brian adds.

Brian 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."

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. 




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