Columbus police re-deploy detectives as homicides spike

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) – Ohio’s capital is deploying murder detectives to tackle a record number of murders and reduce the stress on the officers investigating them.

As part of a pilot program that began on August 1, all 32 homicide investigators were transferred to the first shift of the police station, which runs from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. The Columbus Dispatch reported.

This is a change from the current policy that shifts detectives into shifts around the clock. But most of the people that detectives have to work with on cases, from witnesses to prosecutors to crime lab scientists, work during the day, said Tim Becker, a deputy chief of Columbus.

Detective teams will be on call and respond to murders that happen outside of the first shift. Detectives will also be given take-away cars as part of the experiment, which has resulted in even faster response times than investigators were working on an assigned shift, Becker said.

Due to departmental rules, senior detectives and most experienced detectives work during the day, where they handle the fewest murders, he said. The pilot matches newer investigators with veterans and makes sure cases are more evenly distributed.

The 120-day experiment comes when Columbus recorded 129 murders this year. The city had 88 murders around that time last year, up from a record 175 murders.