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Old 07-26-2005, 10:19 PM
melbo melbo is offline
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Default ARTICLE: 4 homicides in 3 days tax police departments and taxpayers

With four murders in three days, Tucson police are in the midst of a crime wave.

Early Monday morning, police found the body of a man at Prince and Country Club. He has still not been identified.

Over the weekend, 18-year-old Daniel Adrian Martinez's body was discovered in an alley near 24th and 9th. He had been shot.

And Saturday, John Anthony Gutierrez was shot to death outside a home, also near Park and Drexel.

You could imagine that this crime wave is taxing the Tucson Police Department and you .

Do you know that it costs roughly tens of thousands of dollars to investigate these homicides?

Tucson Police Captain Brett Klein says, "The 911 call on one of these particular incidents is like the cue ball. It starts a whole series of resources and brings them into play."

Uniformed officers respond, followed by homicide detectives. All six in the unit are called to the scene. They each may spend 8 hours investigating.

So when you have four murders in three days, it gets busy.

Sgt. Mark Fuller says, "The people who work for this agency are good at what they do and they're good under pressure, so when this happens, everybody steps up and takes care of business."

As soon as the homicide detectives roll out, so does the crime scene unit, which is responsible for gathering evidence and taking pictures.

The problem, according to John Neely, is when you have back-to-back homicides, then other crimes take a back seat.

"When you get this many so fast, it really strains the manpower and the staff we have."

It also strains the property and evidence unit. All the items gathered at the crime scene are here. Everything has to be logged into the computer.

An already backlogged crime lab is also taxed. They have to process everything from DNA to fingerprints to ballistics.

All this costs lots of time and money, especially given the new technologies.

Susan Shankles says, "Specifically, DNA and the more our crime rate goes up, the more requests we have for service, the more supplies we have to purchase. Of course, it will cost the taxpayers more."

The city estimates the average homicide costs $30,000 to investigate.

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