The newly formed Violent Crimes Task Force had a very successful first week, solving a murder case and four armed robberies. The joint venture between the Greenwood County Sheriff’s Office and the Greenwood Police Department began work last Monday.
The special investigations unit is the third such collaboration between Greenwood County’s two largest law enforcement agencies, joining SWAT and the Drug Enforcement Unit. While the two agencies have always cooperated, the new unit makes it easier to share information.
“I think the task force takes our cooperation to a whole new level,” said Greenwood Police Chief Gerald Brooks. “Before our investigators would have to ask questions and hope they were the right questions and then have the other investigators volunteer information and hope that it was the right information. By working together we have all the information without having to ask for it.”
Brooks and Capt. Nick Futch, who is the lead investigator for GPD and is leading the new task force, attributed the early success to a total team effort.
“All of our officers – investigators, uniform patrol, DEU, SWAT – are part of the success the task force has had,” Brooks said.
“Any investigation is a collaborative effort,” Futch said. “The task force allows us to combine the resources of both agencies with a more focused effort.”
While discussing unsolved cases at their first meeting, members of the new task force discovered that there were some very similar details in a couple of cases, some being worked by GCSO and some being worked by GPD. Those minor details not only linked four armed robberies together, but also ultimately led to multiple arrests in addition to solving an armed robbery in Laurens County.
The idea for the task force began in January when Brooks and Greenwood County Sheriff Tony Davis were having the lunch. The two former partners were discussing the recent rash of violent crimes and decided they needed a different approach to catching the criminals committing the crimes.
“We have pretty much the same philosophy on law enforcement,” Davis said. “We are dedicated to law enforcement and to serving the people of our community. Whatever we can do to make our community safer, we need to do.”
The task force is comprised of four investigators, two from GCSO and two from GPD, in addition to Futch. Those investigators will focus solely on violent crimes, such as armed robberies, murders and shooting incidents.
“There are a lot of really good, law-abiding people in Greenwood County,” Davis said. “It seems like those people have become prisoners in their own homes. We need to whatever we can do to give the people back their community.”