This week marks one year since Metro Homicide disbanded

NOW: This week marks one year since Metro Homicide disbanded

SOUTH BEND, Ind., --- This week marks one year since the St. Joseph County Metro Homicide unit disbanded last October. ABC57 sat down with County Prosecutor Ken Cotter who said he’s still hopeful the unit could come back.

 “That will always be my goal. I think the gives that best justice for our families,” said St. Joseph County Prosecutor Ken Cotter.

The County Prosecutor said his team is still adjusting to the loss of the County Metro Homicide Unit.

“It is different, that’s for sure. I know that the detectives that were assigned from the department have worked very hard, but in my opinion it’s always better having a centralized unit.”

The CMHU was made up of the Prosecutor's Office and departments across St. Joe County, until South Bend said the unit strained its understaffed police department.

 “We were being pragmatic the last year or two because we were so short and it was hard to see how we would fill that gap in the coming years, so we reduced the number of officers budgeted,” explained South Bend Mayor James Mueller.

Prosecutor Cotter was disappointed the nearly 30-year partnership came to an end and doesn’t believe separating investigations between departments is a better model.

 “The results are generally a specialized, centralized unit is the best practice and that’s not my opinion that’s what all of the national standards say,” added Cotter.

According to the Prosecutor’s Office, homicides have been up county-wide in in the last three years, with 35 people killed since Metro Homicide disbanded, 25 of those homicides in South Bend.

 “South Bend is hopeful that in the next year or so they can be fully staffed. One of the things, that the chiefs and the sheriffs and I talked about was when the staffing numbers get back up, let’s reevaluate and determine whether or not we can then form a centralized homicide unit.”

Cotter said Metro Homicide had an 80% clearance rate, compared to the 48% national average.

He also said it’s too early to tell if there’s been a significant drop off since the change.

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