Sergeant James Ballenger
Mission of the Major Crimes Unit
The Major Crimes Unit investigates, either solely or in cooperation with officers from municipal police departments, any criminal allegation of a serious nature other than narcotics investigations. These include but are not limited to: child physical and sexual abuse cases, death investigations (homicide, suicide, drug related or any suspicious death), missing persons, robberies, assaults, thefts, frauds, and internet crimes. The Major Crimes Unit works closely with the municipal officers in conducting interviews with victims, suspects and potential witnesses, while also following through with other aspects of an investigation. Our detectives work closely with the Crime Scene Investigation Unit in securing evidence and submission of the evidence to the laboratory for analysis.
Additionally, the Major Crimes Unit provides investigative assistance in the form of personnel and recommendations to all local police departments and many state and federal agencies operating within the County of Gloucester.
The Major Crimes Unit also provides lectures to other agencies and organizations concerning various aspects of investigations and tips on crime prevention and detection. All lectures are provided by the staff of the unit at no cost to the organization.
Functions, Case Intake Criteria and Procedures
All cases submitted to the Major Crimes Unit are evaluated by the unit supervisors and are then assigned to a particular investigator for further action. On occasion, some cases are referred to other agencies for the proper action and the status of the case is tracked by a member of the Major Crimes Unit until it reaches a proper conclusion. Also during this time, regular consultation is made with the office legal staff, who are available, when necessary, to assist both the local and county investigative staff with legal issues and prosecution matters.
All crimes investigated by this office are prepared for court in cooperation with an assistant prosecutor who has been assigned to handle the case. Preparations consisting of preparing a witness list, interviewing all witnesses and notification of those witnesses for court are performed by members of the unit. On complex cases, members of the Major Crimes Unit are assigned to assist the trial prosecutor by functioning as trial aides during the course of the case.
Members of the Major Crimes Unit also continue to build on numerous areas of expertise including handling and processing information at crime scenes, interviewing techniques, child abuse, financial crimes investigations, environmental investigations, and public speaking.
Many unit members are also called upon to assist other units with manpower for raids, electronic surveillance, search warrant investigations and arrests. They are also on the staff of the Gloucester County Police Academy and freely give of their time to teach and coordinate courses for new and experienced police officers.
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