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Fugitive apprehension teams

By Katie Deska
News staff
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The county's fugitive apprehension team is responsible for about 600 arrests a year, according to Bouchard, and costs the county $900,000, which is about .6 percent of the department's $142 million budget.

"(The team) is very productive, and very value adding," said Major Robert Smith, who oversees law enforcement services for the sheriff's office. "Once you go through all the effort to get someone, and get a warrant, and they don't show there's a good chance they're a repeat offender and if you already spent that much money to get them, then it makes sense to spend a little more and get then back in front of the court."

An example of a case the fugitive apprehension team participated in began last November, when a violent home invasion left an elderly Rochester Hills woman duct taped in her suburban living room, a situation from which she remarkably escaped. After she reported the incident to a neighbor who called sheriff's deputies, local media outlets publicized the image of the suspect's face, and a tip rolled into the county sheriff's office, that a man fitting the description was spotted near the Rochester Hills Meijer northeast of Adams and Auburn roads.

Acting on the lead, deputies were dispatched to the scene, where they spoke with one Dequantell Jamerson, who agreed to come to the station for questioning.

"We felt pretty confident he did it, but we didn't have enough evidence to hold him," said Captain Michael Johnson, commander of the sheriff's substation in Rochester Hills. Before letting him loose, deputies obtained Jamerson's glove, which was sent to the Michigan State Police forensics lab for testing.

By the time detectives got word that DNA of the 77-year-old victim was found on Jamerson's glove, he had fled.

"He got into the wind," said Johnson. "We had no idea where he was. My detectives did spend time looking for him, but were unsuccessful, so we contacted the Oakland County Fugitive Apprehension Team."

Created in the late 1980s by former Sheriff John Nichols, the team is a multi-pronged effort to catch fugitives who have fled to or from the area.

"Most other smaller agencies don't have the resources (to have a fugitive team), but as long as they're within Oakland County, they pay Oakland County taxes, and Oakland County funds the fugitive team, we would be the agency to arrest, in any jurisdiction," Quisenberry said.

Oakland County also has a sheriff's deputy stationed at the federally led, multiagency Detroit Fugitive Apprehension Team (DFAT), one of 60 interagency fugitive-finding teams spearheaded and funded by the U.S. Marshals Service. Considered the nation's earliest law enforcement agency, the marshal service dates back to 1789, and is currently the primary body charged with tracking down the most dangerous and devious fugitives.

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