The Criminal Investigation Division’s Homicide Unit is supervised by the Lieutenant of Operations. Municipal Police, Assistant District Attorneys, the Medical Examiner’s Office and outside agencies such as FBI, DEA, ATF, Attorney General’s Office, and State Police request the unit’s assistance. The detective assigned to a homicide investigation works with the agency requesting assistance.
The day-to-day activities of the assigned detectives are team based. Each member of the investigative team informs their departments of the progress of the investigation. Depending on the scope, complexity and urgency of the investigation, the team may include detectives, supervisors, department chiefs, and prosecutors from the District Attorney’s Office. Resources are provided as needed by the various departments participating in the investigation. The team makes tactical decisions on the direction of the investigation.
A homicide investigation typically requires a wide variety of resources.
- First officers on the scene of a homicide are usually uniformed officers. These officers are responsible for securing the scene by making it safe, searching scene for suspects, identifying individuals, setting up a staging area and a perimeter, notifying supervisors, the Coroners Office, detectives and EMS.
- Detectives take reports from the first officers at the scene. The District Attorney’s Office may be contacted if CID detectives or crime scene personnel and equipment are needed.
- Investigative activities at the crime scene include, interviewing anyone at the scene when the police arrived. Statements are taken from all witnesses. Witnesses may be transported to the police station for interviews. Uniformed police and detectives go door to door in the neighborhood to conduct interviews.
- Crime scene detectives assume control of the crime scene upon their arrival and receive reports from the first officer on the scene and detectives. The crime scene detectives bring a wide range of forensic equipment.
- Crime scene detectives identify, photograph, sketch and collect evidence at the scene. Crime scene detectives and detectives interviewing witnesses and/or suspects communicate regularly to identify corroborative evidence. Crime scene detectives evaluate and send evidence to crime labs for processing.
- Search Warrants may be needed to process a crime scene. Detectives contact a Deputy District Attorney to handle many pre trial matters. The Deputy District Attorney assists in the preparation of search warrants.
- A homicide investigation may continue for days, weeks, months or years and is not closed until the case is solved. All leads are followed up by interviews or the collection and examination of evidence.
- The decision to arrest on a homicide investigation is made after consultation with the District Attorney’s Office.