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Robberies, forensics and the Crime Task Force on the citizen’s academy agenda

By Ariella Rams

The topic of the week: robberies, the Crime Task Force and forensics.

Detective Rafael Martins opened week six by distinguishing the difference between a robbery and a burglary.

“It’s simple,” he says. “A robbery is the taking by force or fear. If your car gets broken into while you’re inside a store, that’s burglary. Same goes for the house. If you’re walking down the street and get held at gunpoint to hand over your possessions, that’s a robbery.”

His detail will investigate robbery, carjacking, extortion, grand theft person, aggravated assault, weapons violations, assault and battery, and armed prohibited persons system (APPS).

Of all the cases he’s worked on, only one has gone unsolved, Det. Martins says. “I don’t leave any stone unturned.”

Following the robbery detail was Investigator Nathan Stauber to talk about the Crime Task Force (CTF), an operating six-man team that can work in an undercover capacity to assist detectives and local, state or federal agencies with criminal investigations, though the group’s focus in Anaheim.

“We’re a resource for any agency in Southern California or the nation that needs our help,” Inv. Stauber says. “It’s not uncommon to be in all of the surrounding counties in one month’s time.”

The CTF was originally established in 1980 when the department saw a high number of burglaries that correlated with narcotics. CTF officers were then able to “think outside the box” in plain clothing to significantly decrease the amount of crime the city faced.

Anaheim is currently one of a few cities in the county with a CTF.

“We’re on call 24/7,” he says. “It’s a very face-paced unit.”

Following Inv. Stauber was Forensic Supervisor Jim Conley.

Conley is one of seven forensic specialists employed by the Anaheim Police Department. His job is to collect and document physical evidence to establish the facts of the crime or incident and help identify the criminal.

“It isn’t how it is on TV,” Conley says. “But it’s still a lot of fun to us.”

The FSD does lab work to help solve crimes based on fibers, saliva or other DNA particles left behind at a scene. They also write reports, take pictures and do crime scene investigation- like fingerprint analysis.

As part of the Forensic Science Detail (FSD), Conley and his coworkers uses the Automatic Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS) to match suspects to prints found on the scene.

“Prints are very delicate,” he says. “Because we have the ability to test prints, we solve cases faster. Therefore, we are able to have a lower crime rate than other agencies.”


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