Small Police Agencies Need Help In Big Cases


A missing-child poster and picture of Trenton Duckett still hang on the main entrance of the Leesburg, Fl., police headquarters – almost three years after the 2-year-old boy disappeared and a major crime story enveloped the small town’s department, says the Orlando Sentinel. Said Police Maj. Steve Rockefeller: “Within the first day, we had [the] FBI and FDLE [Florida Department of Law Enforcement] working with us.” The department’s experiences offer a case study in how a relatively small police agency can manage a big-crime investigation. The progression of any large case varies, but at some point it becomes clear to local law enforcement that it will need help tracking down leads.

Since the Duckett case captured national attention in 2006, at least two other missing-person cases have tapped the resources of smaller departments around Central Florida while generating significant media attention: Haleigh Cummings, 5, who disappeared in February from her home near Gainesville, and the May disappearance of Tracy Ocasio, 27, has kept Ocoee police focused on finding her. Each case involves smaller departments with limited resources and well-publicized searches for people who remain missing.

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