Monday, February 18, 2013

Week Two

We started out the night with an overview of the Troy Police Department by Chief Gary Mayer. Chief Mayer provided a little history of the department first. The department started in 1952 before Troy becoming a city (1955). Prior to that time, Troy was a township. The building that was City Hall is now the Troy Museum. The basement was the Police Department, which included a cell. During its history, three officers have lost their lives: Officer Charles Smetana - died from injuries that occurred as the result of a traffic crash; Officer Martin Chivas - was fatally shot during his investigation of a burglary at the Texaco gas station that was located at Rochester Road and I-75; Officer Charles Mulvihill - died from a heart-related ailment while responding to a call. These men are honored each Police Memorial Day in May.

We were given an overview of the budget in regards to its effect on the daily operations of the department. The thing that caught my attention and should be noted to the citizens of Troy is the decrease in sworn officers over the last four years from 137 to 97; this is a decrease of 40 officers. The total department decreased from 174 to 146.5 full-time employees in the last fiscal year alone. If you look at these losses, Troy Police still do their very best to make this the Best City (#1) not only in Michigan but the United States. The police do credit the citizens for their help and cooperation through their many avenues to help make Troy the city it is with the ranking of 2nd Safest City in Michigan for the population over 75,000 for 2011.

With these cuts, the police responded to 33,336 calls for service; issued 11,326 citations (including parking tickets); made 2,684 arrests; and investigated 3,457 traffic crashes. With the cutbacks,certain services have changed. Please refer to the Troy Police Department wedsite for more information. One of those services is filling out minor reports which can be done at home or at the Troy Police Department.

The Troy Police Department works on prevention as well as handling the situations that do arise. They work with the schools to help students understand the laws and consequences of using alcohol and drugs, driving under the influence and distracted driving. There has been a loss of those officers that previously worked directly with the schools. The police also contact the local hotels and motels in the spring to review teenagers renting rooms for prom nights and graduation parties.

The Troy Police keep up with the national news and review any police tactics and adjust them as necessary to any situation that may arise anywhere in the city. They study buildings; their structures inside and out; and where and how to possibly enter or exit in any given situation. If further training is required a specialist may be welcomed by the city to provide further training for area police departments to cut down the costs of sending officers elsewhere for as many days as needed.

Next, we took a quick tour of the Police Department. It was very enlightening to see how it is structured within the building as well as to see the many desks that are vacant due to the cuts. The building is structured to best serve the daily operations in an effective way. If you are interested in touring the building, there is an Open House scheduled for Saturday, May 18, 2013. Please watch the newspapers for further details.

The last part of the night, we heard from the Crime Scene Investigation Evidence Technician Unit (CSIETU) Officer Tony Cascioli. Officer Cascioli discussed how important the first sequence of events as you roll on a scene is so very important. Some of the elements are make sure the scene is safe, check the victim(s), secure the scene, make notes of observations, and make a rough scene sketch. Some of the problems that may be encountered are when the CSIETU arrive on the scene, the fire department, other police officers, ambulance personnel, or others that may have been on the scene first. All of those on the scene at the time of arrival must be accounted for and must be eliminated by forensics. All have to be accounted for what they saw, heard, said or seen. Interviews take place using the 5Ws: who, what, when, where, why and how. If weather conditions, such as rain or snow are occurring, the technicians work fast to gather the physical evidence before its loss. There are many specialties that the technicians have to acquire the skills such as: photography, fingerprinting, blood evidence collection, and gunshot trajectory to name a few. Everything is documented as to recreating the scene, placement of victims and evidence and possibly to what may have happened. These documents will possibly be used in court. The evidence is taken to the Troy Police Station laboratory for further testing. They use many lights and chemicals to determine whether or not physical evidence is important or ruled out for their case. Some evidence may be forwarded on to other labs for further examination/study like the State Police lab in Lansing. We visited the laboratory after the presentation for a tour.

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