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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Long Beach, California

    Funding running out for Long Beach Police Department's Cold Case Unit


    Federal funding is running out and the cold case unit will be closed at the end of this month.

    Federal money granted to unit: $605,998
    Cost of the average DNA testing kit: $6,000
    Oldest cold case date: 1944
    Most recent cold case: 2011
    Number of open murder cases: 921
    Number of cases submitted for DNA evidence: 67
    Cases resolved with DNA, I.D.: 30+
    Detectives assigned to unit: 3

    "It's not the first time the budget has been a problem for cold cases, police department officials said. The first Cold Case Unit, launched in 2005 and led by now retired Homicide Detective Dennis Robbins, was cut in 2007.

    The unit was revived after the National Institute of Justice awarded two grants totaling $605,998 to the LBPD in 2008 and 2009.

    Since then, the unit - which includes full-time Homicide Detective Bryan McMahon and part-time investigators Stephen Jones, a homicide detective who retired in 2008; and Mike Dugan, a Robbery and Career Criminal Apprehension Team detective who retired in 2003 - has reviewed hundreds of files and submitted 67 cold cases for DNA and other scientific evidence.

    Of those submitted, more than 46 percent have been solved with either a DNA hit or a suspect name entered into state and national databases."

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Southwestern Maine is home but I'm not there nearly often enough
    The problem with many PD's including large ones is that they often expect County (Sheriff), State police or the FBI will eventually pick up cold cases that have been shelved by them, or that a future municipal or emergency services amalgamation will shift the responsibility to the overtaking party. To use the case of Long Beach if it is ever absorbed by Los Angeles or if emergency services in the Los Angeles area ever evolve into an integrated regional or so-called "Metro" entity then funding of an enlarged cold cases unit would become someone else's responsibility.

    My personal opinion is that even though it would be interesting to see cold cases from the 1940's solved this has to be balanced against the cost of investigating events where the majority of people involved (original witnesses, suspects and investigators) have passed away, and the lack of public interest for those cases. In my research regarding the unsolved murder of my great-grandfather in 1932 I have met with these issues again and again, and it is a reasonable argument.

    But the fact that LBPD considers cases as recent as 2011 as "cold" makes little sense, it appears to me that the message they are sending is that if a case is too much work they just get rid of it by tossing it to cold cases.

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