As Budgets Shrink, Police Agencies Join In Task Forces


When an 87-year-old woman was badly beaten in September, the shocking nature of the crime prompted Brownstown, Mi., Police Chief Dennis Richardson to activate the Downriver Major Crimes Task Force, the Detroit News reports. Within hours, investigators from 18 communities filled the township police station, working nonstop. “We had 30-50 detectives working around the clock for a week,” Richardson said. “This was personal for us. It was unnecessary violence. It was brutal.”

In cash-strapped times, law enforcement from the local, state and federal levels are coming together to catch everyone from parole violators to fugitives on the run. Departments are increasingly working in multi-jurisdictional task forces– sharing brainpower, manpower, and expertise when the need arises. “The wave of the future is to make the most of what you have by joining forces,” said Michigan State Police Detective Sgt. Ken Walker. “At the time of the activation, each city contributes their manpower and time and effort. When you get focused people organized, you’ve got a lot of investigative power.” Police arrested the three men they say are responsible for the Brownstown crime. Working together is a matter of necessity, law enforcement officials said. Municipalities have lost $3 billion in revenue sharing over the last five years. The total number of law enforcement officers in the state has dropped by 1,800 since 2001. “It’s the police that have the turf problems, not the crooks,” said one sheriff. “All of the police chiefs, all the sheriffs in the tri-county area, we’ve all come to the conclusion that this works.”


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