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FWPD cites new way of tackling homicide probes for helping clear more cases

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FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WPTA21) - The head of the city police investigative unit is crediting changes in the way the department addresses homicide cases for driving up arrests and clearing more of the cases.

The primary change involves dedicating more resources to getting answers about who is committing the crimes.

Head of FWPD homicide unit says more detectives are working fatal shootings, stabbings and assaults.

Detective Sgt. Tim Hughes, who heads up the city police department's homicide unit, claims 25 of 29 homicide investigations in 2019 have resulted in arrests or have been cleared another way, leaving only four unsolved.

He claims only 1 of 8 such cases in 2020 remain unsolved.

Hughes says in past years, a lead investigator would get help from four to five detectives, but after 8 to 10 hours, those support detectives would often return to their regular assignments, leaving the lead detective to mostly work alone.

Detective Sgt. Tim Hughes is in charge of FWPD homicide unit.

Now, eight to twelve investigators are dedicated to a particular case and they generally keep working on that assignment until they feel the trail goes cold.

Hughes argues that strategy can pay off in more than one way.

"I guess if you're going to say how can a homicide detective prevent future homicides, I would say it is about doing very thorough and aggressive investigations and apprehending the offenders before they can repeat the offense," Hughes said.

More detectives working longer hours can lead to exhaustion.

Hughes says in response, officers will look out for each other, sometimes escorting a fellow officer home to get some sleep when it appears the workload is taking a toll.

Jeff Neumeyer

Jeff Neumeyer is a reporter for WPTA.

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