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Cleveland police create task force in effort to reduce violent crime, solve backlog of homicides

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Posted at 12:04 PM, Sep 19, 2017
and last updated 2017-09-19 16:31:48-04

The Cleveland Division of Police has announced a collaborative task force with the local FBI field office and Cuyahoga County, aimed at solving homicides and reducing violent crime.

The unit, formally named the Cleveland Homicide Review Task Force, will take some of the unsolved homicides off the books and give closure to the families out there, Cleveland Police Chief Calvin Williams said. 

According to Williams, Cleveland looked at cities across the country and how the some of them conduct homicide investigations. Using those ideas, Williams believes he has found a system that will work for the city.

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"We've looked at everything from staffing to the actual equipment used by investigators. We think this model is going to work here in the City of Cleveland," he said.  "We want people to know we are on top of this."

To help accomplish this goal, Cleveland officers will be deputized by the sheriff's office to allow them to go outside their jurisdiction to continue their investigations, Chief Deputy George Taylor said.

"Some of these investigations will bleed outside of the city into other areas of the county, and with the jurisdiction of the sheriff's department it makes it much easier for this team of investigators to do that," Taylor said.

Staffing will be complemented by extra agents from the FBI's Cleveland field office, according to Special Agent in Charge Stephen Anthony. 

The FBI will provide investigative and analytical resources as well as manpower with additional agents that will be under the command of Chief Williams, Anthony said.

Mayor Frank Jackson is hopeful the task force will curb the violence that has troubled the city in recent memory.

"This partnership gives us the tools that are necessary to be effective," Jackson said.