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Investigations Bureau

The Joplin Police Department Investigations Bureau is made up of a lieutenant, two sergeants, two corporals, 17 investigators, a civilian investigation assistant, and an civilian evidence technician.  One corporal and two investigators are attached to the Jasper County Drug Task Force and report directly to the lieutenant of the bureau.  Additionally, two investigators are attached to the Southwest Missouri Cyber Crimes Task Force and one corporal to an FBI task force.  Detectives are also members of the Tri-State Major Case Squad. The squad is comprised of numerous investigators from Missouri, Oklahoma, and Kansas. When the squad is activated, investigators combine their efforts to solve major cases within their respective agencies.


Crimes Investigated

The Investigations Bureau is primarily responsible for the investigation of major felony crimes such as homicide, aggravated assault, sexual assault, burglary, robbery, forgery, and fraud. Investigators in this bureau also look into child abuse and neglect hotline calls, vehicle thefts, thefts from vehicles, larcenies, domestic violence, and drug violations.  Additionally, in 2009, one investigator was added through a grant to the Investigations Bureau to investigate cyber crimes with a focus on exploited children. The investigators assigned to these crimes have developed advanced levels of expertise through specialized training and years of experience working on complex cases with colleagues at the federal, state, and local levels.

Investigating complex major crimes requires the dedication, cooperation, and assistance of a variety of individuals and units. Investigators work closely with patrol officers to identify witnesses, preserve major crime scenes, gather critical information, and develop leads.  They also work closely with officials from other agencies to solve crime that inevitably crosses jurisdictional lines.


Case Screening
In late 2011, the Investigations Bureau instituted new guidelines for Joplin Police Department regarding the investigative case screening process. This process continues to be used as a means for determining case solvability and guiding decisions about resource allocation. It has always been the policy of the Joplin Police Department to investigate crimes to the extent practical. The decision to continue or discontinue investigating a case is based on available information and now may be based, in part, on the desire and willingness of the victim to pursue the case and the existence of any suspects. This system relies on the existence of sufficient solvability factors obtained through the initial investigation.


Case History

After a full year of review, we have found this process has reduced the amount of cases each detective is assigned to investigate, so they are able to devote more time to each case, produce higher quality investigations, and increase clearance rates. There were 3,780 cases assigned to the Investigations Bureau during 2012, which was a 27% decrease from 2011. This amounted to 313 cases per month for the entire bureau and 30 cases per month per investigator. The Investigations Bureau clearance rate for 2011, defined as cases cleared by arrest or exceptionally cleared, was 28%, compared to a 34% clearance rate in 2012.