The Criminal Investigations Unit supports the other divisions of the Department by conducting follow-up investigations of reported criminal activity and if warranted, presenting cases to the Orange/Osceola County State Attorney’s office for prosecution. Detectives review preliminary investigations conducted by patrol officers and then interview victims, witnesses and suspects. Detectives also complete enhanced processing of any physical evidence submitted by uniformed officers to the Department’s Property and Evidence Section and prepare evidence for submission to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement Crime Laboratory. Detectives also respond to and process major crime scenes relevant to Winter Park residents to insure that the highest levels of investigation and evidence collection methods are achieved. Detectives photograph, sketch and thoroughly examine crime scenes for any relevant physical evidence and if located, they document the exact location, properly collect it, mark it for future identification, examine it, package it and have it submitted it to the FDLE Crime Laboratory for analysis.
Another important function of the Criminal Investigation Unit is the filing and maintenance of field interview cards, photographs of suspects and latent fingerprint cards. Detectives have direct computer access to the databases of the in-house Records Management System, the Law Enforcement Data Sharing Program, the Florida and the National Crime Information Centers (FCIC/NCIC), the Criminal Justice Net (CJNET) and the Orange County Jail Booking Photographs via an in-office computer terminal and an in-office Crime Capture Investigative Station. Detectives are also trained to prepare photographic line-ups using the Crime Capture Investigative Station with its access to nearly 800,000 retrievable arrest photographs and 900,000 arrest records.
Detectives are responsible for the compilation of up-to-date criminal activity bulletins for dissemination to other units in the Department and also to other law enforcement agencies. This is a critical function of the Criminal Investigations Unit. Detectives are members of various local, state and national intelligence and crime specific associations. These resources enhance their abilities to identify crime trends from other areas and relate them to crimes occurring within the City. Detectives coordinate with other agencies involved to seek the arrest and conviction of any offenders. It is here that the cooperation between divisions sometimes comes full circle, and members from other divisions within the agency may assist in the location and arrest of criminal suspects.