Columbus police redeploy detectives as homicides spike


COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Ohio’s capital city is redeploying homicide detectives in a move to battle a record number of killings and reduce stress on the officers investigating them.

Under a pilot program that began Aug. 1, all 32 homicide investigators have been reassigned to the police department’s first shift which runs 7 a.m. to 3 p.m., The Columbus Dispatch reported.

That’s a switch from current policy which assigns detectives to shifts around the clock. But most of the people detectives need to work with on cases, from witnesses to prosecutors to crime lab scientists, work during the day, said Tim Becker, a Columbus deputy chief.

Teams of detectives will be on call and respond to slayings that happen outside the first shift. Detectives are also assigned take-home cars under the experiment, which has resulted in response times even faster than when investigators were working an assigned shift, Becker said.

Because of department rules, detectives with the most seniority and experience end up working daytime hours where they handle the fewest numbers of homicides, he said. The pilot pairs newer investigators with veterans and ensures cases are spread out more evenly.

The 120-day experiment comes as Columbus has hit 129 killings for the year. The city had 88 homicides this time last year on its way to a record 175 slayings.