Homicide rates climbing in Kentucky
Homicide rates are on the rise in Kentucky. The Council of State Governments released data in “The 50-State Report on Public Safety” noting Kentucky jumped from the state with the 24th highest homicide rates in 2007 to the 17th in 2017 (the most recent study).
So how does Kentucky law enforcement deal with this escalation of homicides? A 2018 report by the Bureau of Justice Assistance, “Promising Strategies for Strengthening Homicide Investigations,” offers some helpful ideas.
This 156-page report provides recommendations related to homicide-unit policies and procedures, detective and supervisor selection processes, investigations training, staffing and caseload management. It also provides recommendations for homicide-unit equipment and technology and other homicide-investigation topics.
Many of the findings are not earth-shattering revelations, but instead are great reminders about things we can do to make the outcomes of these investigations more successful. Some of these recommendations include:
Updating and revising policies and procedures to make sure officers are aware of the investigation process and advised of their roles and responsibilities,
Requiring basic and advanced investigation training for any officer required to investigate homicide cases, as well as, crime scene investigations training for all officers in the agency,
Providing laptops, tablets and smartphones equipped with evidentiary applications for those working homicides,
Responding immediately to and investigating fully non-fatal shootings,
Developing a standardized worksheet and checklist for all officers in the agency on what to do to investigate a homicide scene,
Identifying in policy that there should only be one entry point at an identified homicide scene and that each person must be identified on the crime scene log and be required to submit a supplemental report of their activity while in the scene,
Looking into creating a homicide investigation team.
There are many more recommendations that an agency can use to lower the homicide rate in Kentucky. Please review the entire report for more details. Check your six!