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Author Topic: Jurisdiction in a small town?  (Read 8838 times)

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  • Cub
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Jurisdiction in a small town?
« on: April 08, 2016, 02:54:02 AM »

So I was trying to find information on how a police station would be structured in a town of around 10,000. How many Detectives would there be in a town that size? and would there be enough police to have different sections, like homicide detectives and drug detectives? or would there just be general detectives?

and last question, if there were no homicide detectives could/would the state send one? or would they allow the local police to scramble around trying to figure it out?

thank you  :)

Dave Freas

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Re: Jurisdiction in a small town?
« Reply #1 on: April 08, 2016, 11:12:39 AM »

I can't say for every small town, but I grew up in and still live near a town that size.

The department has 14 officers - 1 chief, 1 assistant chief, 3 shift sergeants, 1 criminal investigator (detective), 1 narcotics officer, 7 patrolmen, and 2 clerks.  The criminal investigator handles all major crimes but I believe all sworn officers (except for the newest hires) have training in investigative procedure and would handle at least the initial investigation to any crime they responded to.

There also is a county-wide SWAT team composed of officers from all the local departments who respond to situations requiring their special training.

Evidence gathered at a crime scene is usually passed on to the State Police for processing and evaluation.  And the State Police would be called in for a crime - say a multiple murder - beyond the capabilities of the local department.

Some towns in our area have merged their departments into one larger department protecting all the towns involved.  Some have disbanded their departments and rely on the State Police for law enforcement.

The nice thing about fiction is you can make your small town police department however you want it to be.  A chief and a bunch of officers who do everything.  A chief and several detectives (each with a specialty) and a slew of patrol officers.

I'm writing about a town about the same size and have a chief, assistant chief, detective, and 12 patrol officers in the department.  But I had it and the surrounding communities pool their resources to establish a county crime lab.

Hope this helps.



  • Cub
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Re: Jurisdiction in a small town?
« Reply #2 on: April 08, 2016, 02:15:11 PM »

thanks so much this was very helpful!!!!

Old Bill

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Re: Jurisdiction in a small town?
« Reply #3 on: April 11, 2016, 08:44:45 AM »

Agree with Dave. But, at least when I was in a county sheriff's dept, some of the local towns with fewer personnel were very reluctant to ask for/receive help from us. A lot of it stemmed from politics at the highest level. Usually the road guys got along and backed each other up, but the chiefs kept knocking heads together which resulted in a lot of tension. Maybe something like this could add some spice to your story. Not everything runs smoothly in our less than perfect world.

Good luck with your story.

Old Bill
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