San Diego heats up cold cases

Quebec should follow the lead of San Diego’s law enforcement community.

When their cold cases started backing up, the police department announced that they would be working WITH a volunteer cold case team to help clear the backlog as quickly as possible. In addition, San Diego County has followed Florida’s lead and also introduced cold case playing cards into their prison system. (Thanks to Doreen P. for forwarding me the last news item.)

What will it take to get Quebec to join the rest of their colleagues in the 21st century?

SAPD Creates Volunteer Cold Case Team
Kristina de Leon
www.woai.com
Nov. 28, 2007

San Antonio Police will announce a new volunteer team today, who will work to solve cold cases at no cost to the city.

The team is made up of six former law enforcement officers with a combined 150 years of experience. Their job will be to look at unsolved murders that are at least a
year old and have gone unsolved.

The team is called “Volunteers in Policing: Cold Case Review”. Among the volunteers are two former SAPD sergeants, a former SAPD lieutenant, two former SAPD detectives and a former FBI agent.

The volunteers are not able to make arrests, but will be in direct communication with the cold case liason, who will communicate with cold case detectives to get the cases solved immediately.

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County hopes cards will deal blow to crime
By Debbi Farr Baker
UNION-TRIBUNE NEWS TEAM
November 27, 2007

SAN DIEGO – From now on, when the county’s jail inmates play cards, the faces of homicide victims or homicide suspects will be staring at them.

That’s because from now on the only cards available for inmates in any of the county’s seven jails will be decks that depict 52 unsolved murders.

Some of the cards, unveiled Tuesday by San Diego County Crime Stoppers officials, depict the victim on one side along with a brief description of the crime. Some depict wanted fugitives. On the other side is Crime Stoppers’ toll-free number.

Inmates can call in tips anonymously and if the information leads to an arrest they can be rewarded up to $1,000 from Crime Stoppers – and possibly more if additional reward money is offered by other parties. One of the unsolved cases offers a reward of $56,000, said San Diego police officer Jim Johnson.

The cards will sell for $1.79 and be the only ones sold in the jails, said Sheriff’s Lt. Dennis Brugos. Brugos said there are 5,100 inmates incarcerated in the county’s jails and about 400 packs of cards bought each month. Jail phones have been reprogrammed so that inmates can call the toll-free number, he said.

The cold-case playing cards are modeled after a program in Florida that resulted in three cases being solved in three months, Crime Stoppers Executive Director Sally Cox said.

Officials hope that by distributing the cards to the criminal population, more leads on unsolved cases will be generated.

“We know that those in jail right now have the information to take care of and to bring justice to the victims and the victims’ families,” said Crime Stoppers board member Auday Arabo.

There are currently 2,000 cold cases in the county under investigation, some dating back decades.

Arabo said it is especially hard for those families that have an empty chair at the table during the holidays.“We hope to bring justice and some type of closure,” he said.

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