LOS ANGELES (AP) — Cold cases are getting colder. Detectives are struggling to connect with victims through thick masks, and investigators accustomed to wearing plainclothes are digging out their dusty uniforms for patrol duty as the coronavirus pandemic rages.
Police departments nationwide are grappling with changes the virus has wrought on their investigations, even as law enforcement agencies report major decreases in crime due to stay-at-home orders. Authorities say enough wrongdoing abounds to keep police busy, and detective work must still be in-person and hands-on, despite COVID-19. Evidence has to be collected, statements must be taken in person and death notifications need to be made face-to-face.
“You put on gloves and you put on masks and you’ve still got to go out there and do it,” said Los Angeles Police Capt. Jonathan Tippet, head of the elite Robbery-Homicide Division.
Police around the country have to put some investigations on hold as they detail detectives to help out with social distance patrols, or cover for their colleagues out sick with COVID-19.
It’s worrisome to former New York Police Department Sgt. Joe Giacalone, who is concerned about criminals across the country who will go undetected in the meantime.
“That becomes a bigger problem down the road,” Giacalone, a former cold case detective now a professor at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice. “Investigators prevent further victimization by getting these guys off the streets.”Despite fewer detectives in bureaus, police are finding workarounds and high-profile cases are still getting the necessary attention. The Los Angeles […]