The Investigative Division is made up of a Division Commander, Investigative Sergeant, Office Manager and nine full-time Investigators, including:
- Two General Detectives
- Investigate cases such as crimes against adults and property crimes.
- Includes a Computer Forensic Investigator who performs forensic examinations on computers for various investigations, such as:
- Child pornography
- Child exploitation
- Criminal sexual conduct
- Narcotics cases
- Two Juvenile Detectives
- Investigate crimes against children and vulnerable adults, such as physical and sexual abuse and financial exploitation.
- Four Narcotics Detectives
- Local drug trafficking
- Gang related cases
- Historical conspiracy cases
- One Metro Street Crimes Unit
- Gang related activity
- Fugitive apprehension
- High crime areas
We currently participate in four different task forces. Narcotics investigators are assigned to the Lakes to River Drug & Violent Crimes Task Force. Two of our narcotics investigators are also attached to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Drug Task Force in Fargo, ND. Our Computer Forensic Investigator is a member of the Internet Crimes against Children Task Force (ICAC). Our Metro Street Crimes Investigator is also part of the US Marshals North Star Fugitive Task Force. The participation in these Task Forces allows for additional funding to offset the cost of salaries, overtime, and equipment. This funding comes from grant money and federal agencies.
The Investigative Division maintains local Predatory Offender files by tracking and ensuring compliance of approximately (145) offenders in the City of Moorhead. Offenders are assessed a risk level, by the Department of Corrections, prior to their end of confinement if they were incarcerated in a state prison. Those that were not confined in state prison are given an unassigned risk level. Information on Level I and Unassigned offenders can be shared with other law enforcement agencies and the offender’s crime victims/witnesses. Level II offender information may also be disclosed to law enforcement agencies as well as groups the offender is likely to encounter such as educational institutions and day care establishments. Risk Level III is the highest level assigned and can also be disclosed to other members of the community. The Moorhead Police Department provides notification on Level III offenders through the media, community meetings, and the City of Moorhead website. There were (8) Level III Offenders residing in Moorhead at various times in 2017.
The division is also responsible for conducting background investigations for most City licenses and permits including liquor, pawn, massage, tobacco sales, second hand dealers, and used car dealers. We also conduct background checks and issue permits for citizens wishing to purchase handguns and semiautomatic military-style assault weapons. With a steady rise in handgun purchase permit applications for several years we saw the application numbers decrease in 2014 and after a couple years with an increase they once again fell in 2017.
Since 1992, the Moorhead Police Department, acting as the fiscal agent, has successfully applied for and obtained grant funding to help combat drug and violent crimes. This funding helped pay partial salaries of Task Force Officers (TFO’s) assigned to the Lakes to River Drug & Violent Crimes Task Force. In 2017, this partnership included the Moorhead Police Department, Clay County Sheriff’s Office, Wilkin County Sheriff’s Office, and the Breckenridge Police Department. Personnel consisted of (4) Narcotics Investigators from the Moorhead Police Department, (2) from the Clay County Sheriff’s Office, a Commander and Office Manager.
Grant funding also allows us to partner with the local DEA Drug Task Force. This relationship allows investigators to start a case with a local user and follow them all the way up to the source of supply that may be established in another state. This type of investigation will often result in federal charges through the United States Attorney’s Office and prosecution of drug traffickers responsible for bringing large quantities of narcotics to the Red River Valley. Cases such as these take an enormous amount of time and resources from local agencies, however the benefit derived from their involvement has great payback as the sources of supply were arrested and convicted as well as the entire distribution network. The distribution network is primarily made up of local drug dealers which have a daily impact on the standard of living in our community. The Moorhead Police Department has (2) of our Narcotics Investigators assigned to this Task Force. In 2017, they worked on (11) separate federal investigations that resulted in (13) subjects indicted in federal court, future federal indictments expected, and several other subjects referred to state court for charges.
Opiate and methamphetamine abuse has been an area of high concern and focus for our Task Force. In 2017, the Moorhead Police Department responded to (12) accidental overdose investigations with (4) resulting in death. All of the death investigations appear to be opiate related.
We have two Juvenile Investigators that primarily work physical/sexual abuse and neglect cases. These investigators receive specialized training on child forensic interviewing techniques. This training is specific to this position so investigators working as a team with social services, medical staff, and counseling services, can effectively receive non-leading information from child victims for court purposes and limit redundancy that leads to further exposing the victim to trauma. This collaboration works together as a team with members of the Red River Child Advocacy Center to accomplish these efforts. The center was created to help accommodate victims and their families through the process.
The Division Commander and Juvenile/General Investigators are also members of the Red River Child Abduction Response Team (CART). A Child Abduction Response Team is a group of individuals from various local, state, and federal agencies who are trained and prepared to respond to a missing/endangered or abducted child. CART pulls together resources to aid in the search and rescue effort and to assist the agency of jurisdiction in its investigation. Our team is certified through the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs. To maintain certification our team participates in tabletop and mock exercises to be prepared in case of a real event.