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As a citizen, it can be one of life's scariest moments, hearing that a wanted individual is on the loose, possibly in the local community.
Imagine being a police officer, sheriff's deputy, or other law enforcement officer and having to get out there and search for and find that wanted man or woman. It takes fortitude, determination, and expert training, as well as the understanding of what they are up against – a criminal who feels they have nothing left to lose.
Fear, audacity, chutzpah, criminality – all may motivate someone to run from the law. But whether on a county, local, state or federal level, ultimately, the fugitive will be caught, because the web of law enforcement is thick, and the intelligence network is intricate and well-connected. At all levels, there are officers dedicated to hounding down the area's most dangerous fugitives.
Wanted by the law, a fugitive is the subject of an arrest warrant. He or she may have failed to show up for court, skipped out on bond, violated conditions of parole or probation, or may be the suspect of some kind of criminal activity. Faced with limited time, money and manpower, apprehension teams prioritize their pursuit of the most violent offenders to those who pose the most significant risk to society. Typically, the fugitives that are subject of an active search are wanted in relation to a homicide or attempted murder; a major assault; rape or other sexual offenses; and drugs.
Composed of five deputies and one sergeant, Oakland County's Fugitive Apprehension Team is trained to find those on the lam, along with the U.S. Marshals Detroit Fugitive Apprehension Team and the Special Investigations Unit comprised of some local police departments.
"When someone is facing an overwhelming challenge (in court), and the evidence is so high, and the seriousness is so high that there's no chance in the world that they could beat the case, there's a large likelihood they'd flee," said Captain Joe Quisenberry, head of Oakland County's investigative and forensic services division, which houses the fugitive apprehension team.
"The fugitive (apprehension) team immediately makes it their complete focus in life," said Oakland County Sheriff Mike Bouchard, who has been the county's sheriff since 1999. "They're some of our most seasoned, capable, determined and successful detectives or police officers. They know they're looking for people who are very willing to kill people – including the detectives looking for them."
"Once the warrant is given to us, and we look at the file, we start with their last known addresses, and family members, and we research databases that show when and where contacts might have happened. We review police reports, and from there, we hit the streets looking," said Quisenberry....continued on page 2