Champaign County officers learn skills to close homicide cases

Champaign County Sheriff’s Office hosted training to learn how to investigate homicides better.
Champaign County Sheriff’s Office hosted training to learn how to investigate homicides better.

The Champaign County Sheriff’s Office is hosting a training for local law enforcement intended to cut down on the number of unsolved homicides.

Detectives from across the Miami Valley will be in Champaign County through today to receive the three-day, Inside the Tape homicide and crime scene management training. The program is taught by David Newman, who worked with the Norfolk Police Division in Virginia for 23 years.

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“We’re trying to show agencies the best way to manage a crime scene so they can have a better opportunity to resolve that case,” Newman said.

Detectives will learn how to make sure a crime scene is handled properly, he said, including how to establish legal access to a crime scene, a cause of death and a motive.

“Our biggest thing is actually getting the case to trial,” Newman said. “A lot of cases never get that far because they were not managed properly.”

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Investigators from several local agencies are attending the training, including the Urbana Police Division, Logan County Sheriff’s Office, Bellefontaine Police Division, Highland County Sheriff’s Office and the Butler Township Police Department.

This training will be valuable to all communities, Champaign County Sheriff Matthew Melvin said in a statement.

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“Its main purpose is to correct mistakes made during the handling and collection of evidence, and know what to look for,” he said. “That’s the way you learn. You learn from the mistakes of the past.”

The number of unsolved homicides nationally has increased greatly in the past few decades, Newman said.

“What we try to focus on are the principles that we encounter in every death investigation and then focus on managing the scene through those principles,” he said.