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Johnson, of the Rochester Hills substation, also used to be on the fugitive apprehension team, serving for four years in the 1990s. "There were four assigned from the sheriff's
(office), and four from the prosecutor's office. The chief investigator from the prosecutor's office was the boss," said Johnson. "Over the years, it morphed. If you knew someone was in another state, we would reach out to the police departments at other locations."
Although the Oakland County Fugitive Apprehension Team is willing and able to assist any police department within the county, it's not always necessary. The Special Investigations Unit (SIU), which operates out of the Troy Police Department, is a collaborative team composed of officers from the Troy, Birmingham, Bloomfield Township, Auburn Hills, and Royal Oak police departments. Dedicated to locating criminal suspects, the SIU allows for a thorough and timely investigation to be conducted, while maintaining affordability for these local departments.
Once the investigation has been worked to a point where a police department has probable cause to arrest someone, the SIU can be utilized for surveillance and capture.
"These guys are trained in locating and apprehending fugitives. These are the people I would call first, before the county," said Birmingham Police Department Chief Mark Clemence. "The county is great because they have access to resources we don't, but I can't think of a recent time when we used the (county) fugitive apprehension team. It's been a while. The (SIU) will arrest the person for the detective, similar to what the fugitive apprehension team does for the county."
Similar to how DFAT officers are deputized as U.S. marshals in order to work across state lines, the officers on SIU are deputized by the county's sheriff's department, which grants them arrest powers outside of their home jurisdiction.
"There are a lot of different crimes that cross jurisdictional boundaries. We learned that by sharing notes and communicating with each other that the same crimes were happening in Troy as were happening here," said Clemence. "We compare notes and find that we're looking at the same people. We said, 'Let's focus in, and work together,' and what this unit does is look for identified suspects and target those people for a follow up."
Recalling the 2014 shooting of a Bloomfield Hills attorney, Bloomfield Hills Public Safety Chief David Hendrickson said, "To locate suspects, we utilized special investigations to find people. We quickly had dozens of detectives working on it. We identified several suspects quickly and we were able to make arrests and get people off the street within days. It was a team effort between different departments' personnel and resources."...continued on page 7