The Investigative Division is comprised of Major Crimes, Neighborhood Investigative Resource Officers and Special Investigations. There are forty-nine detectives currently assigned. The Investigative Division's role is to suppress crime through thorough investigations, assist citizens who are victims of crime, provide crime prevention information and provide a back-up manpower pool for Patrol when needed.
Below are other functions of the Investigations Division outside of the primary units of Major Crimes, NIROs and Special Investigations.
The Spokane Police Department's Major Crimes Unit maintains the Polygraph Unit. The Polygraph Examiner assigned to the unit is trained at an American Polygraph Association accredited school. The polygraph is an investigative tool to aid Detectives in their investigations. Polygraph examinations have assisted investigations in Child Abuse, Theft, Forgery, Sexual Assault, Homicide, Robbery and Arson. The polygraph is also utilized for pre-employment testing of applicants seeking employment with the Spokane Police Department.
Domestic Violence Project
The Spokane Regional Domestic Violence Team is a multi-disciplinary collaboration formed to increase victim safety and confidence in the criminal justice system, and increase offender accountability in domestic violence cases. This team was created by a grant from the United States Department of Justice, Office of Justice Program under the Violence Against Women Grants Office. The team consists of key partner agencies from the city and county of Spokane and includes law enforcement officers, prosecutors, probation officers, and advocates from community-based organizations.
Today, the Fraud Unit has five detectives and investigates a wide range of fraud activities. One detective specializes in computer forensics while the others investigate case involving forgery, credit card fraud, embezzlement, identity theft as well as elder abuse. Three senior volunteers are assigned to the unit and are invaluable as they are diligent in their efforts to locate video surveillance, pick up evidence, display montages and meet numerous requests by detectives and from the public. Quite often they are the first to notice fraud trends through their numerous contacts with the public. They never fail to alert the fraud detectives of their observations.
The fraud unit focuses on the individuals or groups who are committing most of the crimes. Recently a supervisor entered the Fraud Unit with a small request, “Would one of you look at this case…it is just a simple forgery.” He was shocked when the detectives practically ducked for cover. Detective Anderson made the analogy that a simple forgery is similar to a shaken can of soda pop. Frequently a simple forgery evolves into a complex spider web of methamphetamine addicts involved in vehicle thefts and prowlings, burglaries, mail theft, forgeries, distribution of meth and identity theft. These cases can quickly overwhelm the unit.
The detectives work closely with the prosecutor’s office to “point up” an offender, which means allowing the suspect to plead to nine felony counts for minimal jail time. As a result the offender’s next felony conviction – even a $4 forgery at the latte stand can result in substantial jail time.
The fraud unit has become an informal resource for SPD, SCSO, Secret Service and other local, state and federal agencies. Through their investigations they have developed contacts with most of the financial institutions, retailers and government agencies throughout the region. Rarely does a day go by without someone stopping by the fraud unit asking for assistance locating a contact person, identifying a suspect or researching databases. The fraud detectives regularly provide training on Identity Theft, Fraud Investigations and Elder Abuse to other law enforcement agencies, attorneys, and a variety of other groups.