ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — The Rochester Police Department’s Major Crimes Unit is hard at work as the city sees more and more violent crime.
The Rochester Police Locust Club says the Major Crimes Unit currently is comprised of 12 investigators, but this weekend one person from the force is retiring. The team investigates serious violence, like homicides, rapes, and crimes involving children.
With more than 30 homicides already this year, these investigators have been working around the clock.
“Right now it’s not as much of the number of homicides, it’s how fast they are coming in. These investigators work on an on-call basis and they are on-call for certain periods of time, so they may actually catch multiple homicides in a 3-4 day span and it gets tough working. You always hear that first 48 hours is crucial in an investigation. Sometimes they are within that 48 window and starting in on another homicide investigation, so it’s tough,” said Adam DeVincentis, the Vice President of the Rochester Police Locust Club.
DeVincentis says the endless work is putting a lot of strain on officers, especially since the police department is seeing a staffing shortage. Some investigators haven’t been able to go home much.
“They start working a case and once they get the call, they are there until they find what they need and then if another case starts, there is often no down shift in between that, they just have to work onto another case and another case and then the way they have been working here in the last couple weeks, is that they just keep coming back to back,” DeVincentis said.
The Locust Club says with one person retiring from the unit this weekend, they may have to find someone else to join the team because the investigators often work in groups of two.
“You fill that by maybe taking an investigator from the patrol section investigation unit and now you have one less investigator going to your non-fatal shootings, your burglaries, your robberies, everything else that happens in the city and if you want to fill that up, you have to take a 9-1-1 call to service police officer and promote him to investigator,” DeVincentis said. “So at the end of the day if you back fill these spots, you lose a cop on the streets which we can’t afford to do now either.”
The Locust Club says Major Crimes is actually doing a good job investigating the homicides, but the problem is many incidents happen one after another.
“We’re asking people in one of the hardest professions on the plant, to put themselves in dangerous situations now for 2/3 of every day of their lives and we are not expecting that there is going to be errors or just burnout,” DeVincentis said. “The burnout factor among police officers is always high as compared to other industries, but now when you just work them they don’t have any other options. They are just working and working.”
The Locust Club also says with investigators tied up on current homicide cases, they won’t be able to investigate cold cases that they often have time to do.
“They are worried they are going to do everything they can this year and 10 years down the road, some new investigator is going to be up there, going what was going on in 2021 and 2020 and why didn’t they follow up on these leads and it’s resources?,” DeVincentis said.
On Thursday, the Rochester Police Department announced plans to have federal agencies assist them in addressing the gun violence and uptick in crime.
The Monroe County Sheriff’s Department is also adding additional support to help.