Ask a cop: Detectives trying to get on the same page

By Officer Anonymous | Posted - Jul 8th, 2013 @ 11:01am



SALT LAKE CITY — I was informed recently by some detective friends of mine that they have organized a training conference for investigators, patrol officers and other interested law enforcement officers from the state of Utah and surrounding states.

This training opportunity piqued my interest, so I decided to do some digging into this upcoming conference. After talking to additional officers, federal agents and detectives, and after consulting the Salt Lake City Police Department’s website, where the conference is highlighted on its home page, I learned quite a bit about this upcoming event.

For starters, it turns out that the “Utah Violent Crimes Conference,” as it has been correctly named, is the first of its kind in Utah. I also quickly surmised that the main purpose of this training is to educate law enforcement personnel — local, state and federal — on current investigative techniques, along with laws that have recently changed on federal and state levels. What a novel idea: To bring law enforcement officers from departments big and small, near and far, together under one roof for educational purposes, training and preparation as it relates to criminal investigations.

According to slcpd.com, the training is scheduled for Oct. 10 and 11 at two downtown locations: the new Salt Lake City Police Department headquarters and the Salt Lake City Main Library. The cost for the conference is $85 per person, or $95 if registering after Aug. 1.

I think it is particularly worth noting that the main sponsors of this conference are the FBI Safe Streets Task Force, Salt Lake City Police Department, West Valley Police Department and the Salt Lake City Police Foundation. It also seems that the Police Mutual Aid Association has assisted with the overall planning conference. Law enforcement can register at <http://slcpd.com/vcrconference2013/&gt;.

You may be asking the reason for this training and why I chose to write about it. Or you may have already lost interest and moved onto an article featuring cleavage. If you have remained, I will tell you why this conference is not only important for law enforcement officers, but for the public as well.

A vast majority of departments in Utah have high personnel turnover rates for investigations and not a lot of money in their budgets for training new detectives or even the ones who have been there awhile. Because these are the officers who investigate homicides, child kidnappings, rapes, bank robberies and other major crimes — the crimes that impact the public’s daily lives — these officers need regular and comprehensive training from fellow state, local and federal law enforcement partners.

Some detectives, by policy, can stay in their assignment for only a few years and then have to rotate back into patrol or other positions. This can make for a difficult learning curve when it comes to investigating major crimes. The investigators who championed this training want it to be a yearly event where law enforcement officers from all levels and department sizes throughout Utah and beyond can get together, share cases, offer advice and provide training on the most up-to-date investigative techniques available. Providing this annual training will keep each detective, rookie or senior, on the same sheet of music so to speak, making better officers and thereby protecting the public more than ever before.

I’m told this conference will cover a full gamut of investigations training and techniques and that it will offer top-notch presenters. Agencies slated to teach are the FBI, U.S. Attorney's Office, Salt Lake County District Attorney's Office, SLCPD homicide and robbery squads, Unified Police Department, West Valley Police Department and other agencies.

Topics will include initial homicide, bank robbery and serial robbery investigations, just to name a few. The FBI will cover electronic surveillance and new technologies to use in investigations to help put the right people in jail; instructors will present case studies on recent investigations; and there will be classes on how to deal with the media effectively. And creatively, there will be a class on proper nutrition and dietary regimen for law enforcement.

As of now, the conference has received much appreciated contributions from the West Valley Police Department and the Salt Lake City Police Foundation. They are trying to lock down donations from some other agencies, local businesses and banks. Police-friendly businesses like Skaggs and Ops Gear have also said they would help in any way they can. Make your jokes now, but Dunkin Donuts has agreed to provide an assortment of goodies and drinks for both mornings of the conference.

The investigators who planned this conference want investigators throughout Utah and beyond to be the best they can be and represent all law enforcement in the most professional way possible. Investigators never want to hear other officers say after not getting a conviction, “well if I would have had the proper training,” or “I never knew we could do something like that.” This conference will open lines of communication and get everyone networking and putting a face with a name.

There should never be police departments thinking they have to or want to do it all on their own. We should all be working as a team on every case, regardless of jurisdiction. I think the Boston Marathon bombing is an ideal example of law enforcement agencies working together. That is what we should strive for here, and that is why this training conference is so important.

If you are interested in being a sponsor, you think you have a good idea for a class and would like to instruct or just have questions about the conference, you can contact detective Matt Evans with the Salt Lake City Police Department at email matthew.evans@slcgov.com.

If you are concerned for your local police department and their investigators and want them to go to these types of trainings, contact your local government and urge them to go. I know budgets are tight, but it is one of the most inexpensive and comprehensive conferences I've seen related to violent crimes. There are only 300 spots for this conference.

This article is for entertainment purposes only and should not be taken as legal advice. I do not represent any specific agency or government. Please send questions to askacop@ksl.com

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