The Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office Investigations Section is currently comprised of eighteen investigators and ten civilians who provide a wide spectrum of investigative services including criminal investigations, crime scene investigations, victim advocacy, and crime analysis
Most people may wonder what happens to a crime once it has been reported. After a deputy writes an initial report about an incident that requires further investigation, the case is forwarded to the Investigations Section. The Investigations Section will then review each report and prioritize them based on the amount of solvability factors that are present, especially serious crimes. Once the screening process is complete, the cases are then assigned to investigators who conduct follow up investigations.
The Criminal Investigation Section includes crimes such as property crimes, economic crimes, crimes against children, cybercrimes and violent crimes. An investigator may be assigned a homicide investigation one day and a forgery case the next. Investigators may work the initial crime scene through the follow-up investigation and into the court proceeding. Crime Scene Technicians are responsible for the collection and preservation of crime scene evidence. They document the crime scene through photographs and collect and process all the evidence from the scene. They also maintain property and evidence submitted by deputies. Like investigators, crime scene technicians are also available for call out 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
There are currently three investigators assigned to cases in which a crime has been committed against a child. They investigate all cases involving exploitation, neglect, abandonment, and physical or sexual abuse against a child. There is one investigator assigned to handle all cases involving internet crimes against children (ICAC). This investigator works with an ICAC Task Force consisting of members from local law enforcement agencies, FBI, Homeland Security Investigation, and Florida Department of Law Enforcement in investigating such crimes as internet child pornography or traveler cases. If you know of a child who is being abused in any way, call the Sheriff’s Office at (850) 651-7400 or the confidential abuse hotline toll-free at 1-800-96-ABUSE.
Investigations also have a Crime Analysis Unit which collects, analyzes, and disseminates information within the Sheriff’s Office and to outside agencies such as The Florida Department of Law Enforcement. The Crime Analysts receive and review a great volume of information every day and provides statistical analysis of current topics of concern which have an impact on the county.
Investigators are on call 24 hours a day to respond to emergency investigative needs but are normally available Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. to provide assistance where needed.