Changing Pardigms: Using Citizen Teams to Assist Police in Cold Cases

In relation to crime solving, the Internet has provided the police and families of the victims a valuable outlet to distribute information about on-going investigations. In combination with this powerful tool, laypersons interested in a variety of criminal cases, especially those involving missing persons and homicides, can learn much of the details regarding specific crimes. Based on experience in the field, my personal opinion is that police departments could benefit from the brainstorming and other potential contributions by groups of diverse yet dedicated citizens. Obviously, only certain cases could be examined and the selection and work of these groups would needed to be strictly controlled.

In contrast, I am not an advocate of bringing some of the rabid CSI fans together for chats and thinking that police investigators will glean useful information that was used to crack the case in season 4, episode 7. I would also argue that students at Bauder College conducting an investigation into the Chandra Levy case or any of the other celebrity cases that they select is little more than an opportunity for free publicity, and that untrained investigators interviewing witnesses could certainly hinder the future of those investigations.

What I do champion is to identify intelligent free-thinkers from a variety of professional backgrounds, develop them into a working group, and provide them with details about certain cold cases. The group would then engage each other in discussions, work with the investigators to conduct necessary follow-ups, and generate potential new directions for the case. I believe that such a group could help investigators to think "out of the box" and potentially assist in closing some current cases. The DOE Network is an example of the good work being done to assist police in missing persons investigations. Citizen Todd Mathews' dedicated work to identify "The Tent Girl" represents the potential that citizen participation in cases can produce The Tent Girl. Even though police do not like to discuss it, psychics are also consulted for certain cases. I think my idea is somewhere between the forensic lead chasing that the DOE performs, and a more practical version of the services performed by fortune-tellers.

In any event, I'll be discussing three intriguing and current criminal cases in future posts that have generated much interest from the media and Internet users: 1) Brianna Maitland; 2) Ray Gricar; and 3) Beau Ramsey...


Anonymous said...

I'm encouraged that someone with a law enforcement background might blog-in on police investigations and the potential use of the Internet. I hope you do do that.

Signed -- a Penn's woods, semi-intelligent, civilian free-thinker who is mystified by the twists and turns of the Ray Gricar investigation.

Bob said...

I came of age during the early 70's... age 18 to drink; I grew up respecting law enforcement, the motto, "serve and protect" meant something to me.

But during the 70's I found my identity linked to a subculture where marijuana was not only safer and superior to alcohol, it enabled intelligent discussions and I could actually hurt laughing. "Laughter is good medicine"!

I'm not into hard drugs... I think we need to do more as a society to address that issue... sooner, the better... current policies are not working.

I think crimes involving "drugs" are in a big way a causality of our understanding of recreational drug use, of which millions everyday enjoy the freedom of tobacco and alcohol, but other drugs, in particular cannabis, the safer of the two, leads to legal harm and injustice; because we don't understand, or don't want to understand.

I have a talent for "thinking outside the box"... I didn't ask for it, it just happened... I don't enjoy seeing the harm others encounter... but rather, I feel compelled to help, despite my fear of "getting involved".

I greatly appreciate Slam Dunks blog... it's a place for me to be me... that lets me help others who for one reason or another, their cases have become entangled in politics or confusion... I'll leave it at that. I just want to say Thank-you to Slam Dunks for this opportunity to help.