c Can civilian investigator program work in S.F. or Las Vegas?

George Gascón, as Chief in the Mesa (AZ) Police Department introduced funding to hire 15 civilian investigators to handle calls for nonviolent crimes like burglaries, credit card fraud or car theft.

The tagger had struck twice in two days.

It was only about $800 in damage, but it was the last thing Ted MacNeille needed as he prepared to open a used auto showroom between a car wash and a tattoo supply store in the Phoenix suburb of Mesa.

It’s also the type of police call that many patrol officers dread – a minor offense that’s time consuming and paperwork intensive. It can take officers hours to respond, and when they do, they often rush the job with an ear to the radio for more important calls.

But Rachell Tucker arrives within minutes, snapping crime scene photos, documenting when the last employee left the night before and suggesting MacNeille invest in surveillance cameras. Tucker isn’t a police officer. She’s a civilian investigator for the Mesa Police Department – one of 11 members of a pilot program that George Gascón introduced as chief in Mesa and now wants to replicate in San Francisco, where he was hired as the top cop last year.

For more on this San Francisco Chronicle story, go to: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2010/08/08/MN1N1EQ0IR.DTL#ixzz0wDniardh

Is this something we might consider here in Las Vegas?  Could it save us money and by having civilians investigate non-violent crimes and by freeing up Metro police officers to investigate the more violent crimes?  Would it allow for more officers to investigate violent crimes with little added costs?  Let me know what you think about this idea that is being used in Mesa, AZ, and is being considered for use in San Francisco.

-Alan Stock 


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