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LPD Splitting Case Loads Differently

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LAWTON Okla_ Starting Monday, the case load for some Lawton police detectives may get a little lighter, thanks to a change in the way those cases are assigned.

As it stands now, 15 detectives are assigned to either property or people crimes.

Property cases mostly involve burglaries or larcenies and people crimes consist of homicides, assaults, and sexual crimes. Come Monday, those cases will be assigned depending on whether they happened on the east or west side. The dividing line will be Sheridan Road.

This isn't the first time cases have been split by geographic location as opposed to type of crime. Detectives say the last couple years have been unusual with the amount of homicides, and they are making adjustments to see what will work best. The new system also allows for officers to become more familiar with a case they may have to one day handle.

Lawton Police Captain Craig Akard said several concerns played a role into the department's decision to make changes. One of those reasons is a sharp increase in homicide investigations.

"We are not bombarding just three or four detectives with homicide," Akard said. "We are able to get all of them experienced in homicides and spread those out to everybody."

He said anytime there's a rash of a specific type of crime, whether it's burglaries or homicides, the number of investigators assigned usually reflects the case load. He said in some cases more help is needed.

"Major crimes are a whole lot more in-depth, and it takes a lot more work to investigate those crimes than it does burglary crimes or copper theft crimes," Akard said.

Police say while the detectives' case loads will be split from east side or west side, other factors will be taken into consideration in determining which detective is assigned to what case.

"As detectives get experience and they've been over here for a while, you come to find out that some of them are better at investigating people crimes more than property crimes, and other guys that excel at property crimes don't like people crimes," Akard said. "Even though we are going through an east/west split to where people investigate different crimes, if they tend to do better in one area, we will have them do most those cases in that area. We will give them feelers in the others so they can help out when needed."

Akard said the east/west split will also help when a detective on one team is out on leave or injury. He said until they are able to return, the detective on the other team will be able to step in and pick up the slack, allowing no room for delay.

 

 

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