June 21, 2010
Thursday the 11th Southern Pines Police Department's Citizens Police Academy concluded with a graduation ceremony for our class of novice investigators. Yep, that means diplomas and photos and even a parting gift (No, not handcuffs or a parking ticket).
The seven-week session concluded with a tour of the new police station and the resolution to our CSI investigation.
First, the tour. The building is top-notch. I has the feel of real police station. It is state-of-art, spacious and secure for the public, the police officers and staff and the bad guys (Yeah, you don't want to be locked in one of the holding cells).
There are still plenty of things to do. The new house doesn't have the feel of home just yet. But I promise you it will soon.
Now, on to the big case. We had to present our findings to an independent board in hopes of getting an arrest warrant for our suspect.
For those who haven't been following along, here is a quick recap of the case so far.
We had a card game in the break room of the building and grounds department that resulted in murder.
The building's janitor said he came in for work, and found the victim. He dropped his cleaning binder and fled the scene without touching anything.
The victim was stabbed in the chest with a knife that was found at the scene, along with several wine bottles (the good stuff, Mr. Smithson) and a red rag with #1 Blood written on it. The rag was missing one corner. There were two bloddy footprints on the floor.
A trail of bloody footprints led out the back door.
We cast footprints and took fingerprints from the bottles and the knife. The footprints were identified as made by a size 15 NIKE. Fingerprints on the bottles belonged to the victim and the other card player, who lawyered up and wasn't talking to us. Fingerprints on the bloody knife belonged to the janitor.
The janitor became a viable suspect when we learned he had a prior arrest on drug charges and was a known affilate with the Crips, a rival gang to the Bloods.
We obtained a search warrant for his home. The Special Response Team helped us execute the search warrant. We found a pair of sneakers -- size 15 NIKEs -- and a piece of red cloth.
Later we pulled the janitor over and searched his vehicle with the help of the K-9 department. When he was stopped, the janitor fled his vehicle. We walked a drug dog around the vehicle and got a "hit." Searching the vehicle we found drugs. After the search of the vehicle the dogs tracked our suspect through the woods and brought him out.
We presented our evidence and obtained an arrest warrant for the janitor in connection to the crime.
In all seriousness, the Citizens Police Academy was a blast. It was interesting and informative thanks to our instructor/coordinator Bob Temme, our evidence technician Joe Leggett, Chief John Letteney, and all the members of the department who took their time to teach us about their jobs and answer our questions. Their hard work, dedication and enthusiasm really made each session great. And a special thanks to my classmates. They were fabulous. The took the class seriously, but also had fun with it...
I would encourage anyone to take the class. It will give you a greater appreciation to what the police do, as well as give you a chance to meet some great folks in your community.