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The purpose and function of the Detective Division is to support patrol officers by providing follow-up investigations on major and specialized crime incidents. Examples of some of the crimes that are investigated by the Detective Division are homicides and suspicious deaths, sex crimes, serial assaults, burglaries, arsons, frauds, domestic violence, forgeries, worthless checks and white collar crimes.
Domestic Violence Unit
The Domestic Violence Unit is comprised of an experienced detective and a civilian victim's advocate who work in conjunction to combat the causes and prosecute the perpetrators of domestic violence. The goals of the Unit include ensuring victim safety, providing access to resources, and furnishing ongoing support and counseling. Because domestic violence is too often unrecognized and unreported, a primary objective is to have contact with every victim of domestic violence in the city of Fredericksburg.
Said Chief David Nye about the formation of this important unit, "Through the coordinated efforts of police, prosecutors, and involved community members, we intend to break the cycle of violence perpetuated by family abuse."
The identification, preservation, and handling of evidence are critical to the successful resolution of all criminal investigations. All officers are trained in processing and preserving crime scenes. Such training provides the officers with adequate knowledge to allow them to initiate routine processing functions and the ability to preserve the area of an incident for a crime scene specialist.
As a general rule, patrol officers are the first to arrive at a scene of an incident or crime. It is the patrol supervisor who makes an assessment of the scene and determines whether the scene requires the expertise and knowledge of a Crime Scene Specialist.
Crime Scene Specialists are members of the General Assignment Bureau assigned to the Detective Division. These detectives are responsible for the processing of every major crime scene where the potential for recovering evidence exists. Crime Scene Specialists are subject to being on call on a twenty-four (24) hour basis.
The assignment of experienced law enforcement personnel as Crime Scene Specialists requires extensive training. To maintain high standards in this specialty, the Fredericksburg Police Department actively seeks and provides the necessary advanced training for Crime Scene Specialists.
To ensure that critical training is acquired, each Crime Scene Specialist is required to attend nine (9) weeks of extensive specialized training in forensic science provided by the Virginia Forensic Science Academy, a subsidiary of the Virginia Department of Consolidated Laboratories. Detectives who are certified forensic technicians conduct crime scene searches for physical and latent evidence. In addition, technicians record a crime scene by video, still photographs, and prepare sketches and drawings to scale. Forensic technicians coordinate forensic activities with patrol personnel and may assist patrol officers in situations where a higher degree of forensic knowledge is required. The forensic technician also processes, packages, and forwards evidence to the state forensic laboratory for examination, analysis, and expert determinations. Certified forensic technicians will provide assistance to other department personnel when requested.
Assignments within the General Assignment Bureau are predicated on the classification and status of criminal reports and ongoing criminal activity. The following is an aggregate of criminal classifications from which specific crimes are identified and case assignments are based:
• Homicide/suspicious deaths
• Crimes against persons
• Crimes against property
• Arson investigation
• Fraud, forgery & worthless checks
• Domestic violence
• White collar crimes
In addition to the above criminal classifications, incidents involving juveniles, such as delinquency, truancy and criminal activity, are assigned to a bureau detective who specializes in domestic and juvenile crime and other related incidents.
The Narcotics and Vice Bureau investigates complaints and crimes involving drugs, narcotics, and violations concerning criminal vice. In addition to the bureau's primary responsibility of investigating drug and vice cases, the bureau also conducts investigations concerning organized crime activity and coordinates such information with other divisions and department personnel. The bureau may also covertly investigate other sensitive cases as directed by proper authority. The members of Narcotics and Vice operate in plain clothes and sometimes are involved in undercover activities.
The polygraph instrument is the most commonly used instrument for the detection of deception.
The Fredericksburg Police Department uses the polygraph as an investigative aid during criminal investigations as well as during the pre-employment examination of candidates seeking employment with this department.
Every polygraph examiner is a graduate of an accredited polygraph school, accepted by the Virginia Department of Professional and Occupational Regulations (D.P.O.R.), and receives certification by extensive testing and additional training under the direction of the D.P.O.R.
After receiving certification, polygraph operators must then be licensed by the Commonwealth of Virginia.
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