Criminal Investigations Division
The Criminal Investigations Division is led by Lieutenant Fred Nelson and consists of the following units/positions: Criminal Investigations Unit (General Investigations, Family Services, Victims Services), Street Crimes Unit, and Special Investigations Unit. In total, there are 13 officers and two full-time civilian positions in this division.
Criminal Investigations Unit
The Newark Police Department Criminal Investigations Unit (CIU) is staffed by five detectives who are responsible for investigating major crimes occurring in the City of Newark as well as cases which require intensive or specialized investigative techniques. One detective serves as the Family Services Detective, who has specialized training in the area of juvenile and family services. Detectives assigned to CIU are on-call 24 hours a day, seven days a week, on a rotating basis. Members of the Criminal Investigations Unit work closely with the Street Crimes Unit to solve crimes and with the Victims Services Specialist to provide assistance to the victims of crime that occurs in the City of Newark. The police department has one Polygraph Examiner assigned to CIU. The examiner conducts criminal and applicant testing for the department and assists other agencies by conducting exams. In 2017, a total of 193 cases were assigned to the Criminal Investigations Unit for follow-up and a total of 117 search warrants were executed. The assigned cases composed partially of 1 homicide, 30 robbery investigations, 3 felonious assaults, 32 burglary investigations and 11 rape investigations. Detectives assigned to the Criminal Investigations Unit were able to solve the homicide, 67% of the assigned robberies, 100% of felonious assaults, 41% of burglaries, and 45% of the rape investigations, as compared to the national clearance averages of: homicide 61%, robbery 29%, assault 54%, burglary 13%, and rape 38%.
Some examples of the types of cases CID investigated in 2017 are:
- In a January investigation, three suspects entered a residence on Prospect Avenue, demanded money from the victims, and struck one of the victims with a handgun. Officers and detectives saw drug paraphernalia and drugs in plain view and executed a search warrant on the home. One of the robbery victims was ultimately charged with numerous drug offenses. Detectives developed information on one of the robbery suspects through various investigative measures and ultimately arrested him. A search of the suspect’s residence yielded a gun, mask, and drug dealing items. Additionally, a third subject was arrested for providing false information to the police and a fourth suspect was arrested for drug offenses after his vehicle was searched in relation to this investigation.
- In March, a business in the 200 block of E. Delaware Avenue reported that money was stolen from the safe overnight. Based on the suspect’s actions captured on surveillance video, detectives believed the suspect was a current or former employee. Detectives eventually linked an employee to the incident and conducted a search warrant at his residence. Evidence linking him to the burglary was collected during the search warrant and he was arrested.
- In September, officers found a female murdered in her residence on Westfield Drive. Detectives gathered evidence at the crime scene linking the victim’s live-in boyfriend to the murder and tracked him to New York using his cell phone. Detectives obtained a warrant for his arrest and located him in a New York hospital, where he was arrested.
- In April, a female was followed by a male who was yelling obscenities at her on Wyoming Road. The same suspect was identified in two separate incidents where he grabbed the buttocks of two females and followed an additional two females. The suspect and his vehicle were tracked on the City’s surveillance camera system and detectives were able to identify him through the vehicle, which was owned by an acquaintance. The suspect was arrested on several counts of harassment and unlawful sexual contact.
Street Crimes Unit
The Newark Police Department Street Crimes Unit (SCU) is comprised of five officers. SCU targets a wide range of criminal activities including street-level and in-home narcotics sales, street-level robberies, vice, and order maintenance crimes. SCU also focuses on locating and arresting fugitives wanted by the Newark Police Department. SCU officers conduct their investigations in plain clothes, working as a team to conduct surveillance, gather information, and arrest criminals who commit crimes within the City of Newark. Along with their specialized mission targeting street level crimes, these experienced officers further assist and work hand in hand with the Drug Enforcement Agency, the United States Marshals Fugitive Apprehension Team, and the FBI Child Exploitation Task Force.
Special Investigations Unit
Detectives assigned to the Special Investigation Unit are assigned to the DEA as Task Force Officers and are responsible for investigating narcotics offenses. Detectives in this assignment are highly motivated and are responsible for initiating their own investigations, whereas most other detective units conduct follow- up work on crimes that have already occurred. Detectives initiate investigations based on information received from a variety of sources including the Street Crimes Unit, the Patrol Division, Special Operations Unit, community members, confidential informants, and other law enforcement agencies.
Crisis Negotiations Team
The Newark Police Department’s Crisis Negotiations Team (CNT) is comprised of five officers from various units within the police department who have received specialized training through the Newark Police Department, the Delaware State Police Department, the New Castle County Police Department, the FBI, and the Baltimore County (MD) Police Department. This specialized training concentrates on successful communication with people who are in crisis or are suffering from mental health issues. The goal of the Crisis Negotiations Team is the de-escalation of potentially violent situations through productive communication and the safe surrender or cooperation of the subject that is in crisis. The Crisis Negotiations Team is deployed in crisis situations such as a hostage, barricaded subjects, and may be deployed to supplement other law enforcement operational components during search warrants, suicidal subjects, or any incident where trained negotiators would be beneficial.
Significant training and operations in 2017 included:
- In February CNT members attended the annual Baltimore County Police/FBI Crisis Negotiations Conference in Baltimore County, MD.
- In June and July CNT members conducted text message negotiations with two subjects in crisis. As a result of the text negotiations, both subjects were located and taken to mental health facilities for treatment.
- In August CNT members spent three hours attempting to communicate with a suicidal barricaded subject. Eventually CNT members were able to engage in face to face negotiations with him for several hours and convinced him to surrender.
The Victim Services Coordinator (VSC) provides social services to victims and witnesses of violent crimes. Victim Services includes crisis intervention, providing information and support during criminal investigations and throughout the court process, and assistance with applications to the Victims' Compensation Assistance Program. Additionally, the VSC works with victims around safety planning and can assist with filing for Protection From Abuse orders. The VSC continues to work with victims and witnesses throughout the criminal justice to determine whether their needs are being met and the impact of the crime.