New homicide unit coming to Elkhart County
ELKHART, Ind.- On Wednesday, the Elkhart County Prosecutor’s Office held a press release detailing their official homicide unit.
What has been in the works for many years is finally coming to fruition. The brand new team will be helping solve murder investigations.
They’ll operate inside the prosecutor’s office, which will be off limits to the public.
Prosecutor Vicki Becker opened up the press conference full of optimism for the future. “We believe that Elkhart County deserves that,” she says. “I cannot tell you how excited I am to tell you where we are going from here.”
Becker says officials have been talking about a homicide unit for at least ten years. “Just over the last couple of years, we have gotten to the point where the level of commitment and collaboration has made this possible.”
According to Becker, before, agencies would drop everything when a homicide occurred in the county and work as separate departments. Now, all of that is changing.
“We are now bringing different agencies around the county under one roof.”
This new unit will include Goshen Police, Elkhart City Police, the Elkhart County Sheriff’s Department along with the Prosecutor’s Office.
These departments will be responsible for, “…all suspicious deaths, all homicides, all types of incidents where vehicle is used as weapon, all deaths of children under the age of 18, as well as officer involved shootings,” says Becker.
Both Elkhart County Sheriff and Elkhart City Chief agree that this unit will help bring together resources.
“People that commit crime, don’t care about boundaries,” says Chief Ed Windbigler. “We’re all boundary driven and always have been. We as law enforcement leaders realized that’s not the way to investigate crimes.”
“There was a missing component, having us all under the same roof,” says Sheriff Brad Rogers. “As sheriff of this county it’s important that we’re serving the people and we’re meeting those different needs.”
Becker says they have used the ICE team model for this unit and hope for some results.
“We do expect that the length of time it’ll take for most homicide investigations will be much less.”
Mayor Tim Neese says cooperation is the perfect word to describe what is happening in Elkhart County. He adds the city of Elkhart will have five officers that are going to be involved and hopes this will make everyone feel safer.
“What it’s been in Elkhart County previously is different jurisdictions might approach a homicide in a different fashion and sometimes that wasn’t always good,” says Neese. “So this is going to be a uniformed effort.”