I feel compelled as a retired staff sergeant from HRP, once in charge of Major Crime, to comment on Stephen Kimber’s story about unsolved murders in Halifax (“Dead wrong,” November 19). A murder is one of the most difficult cases to solve unless you have the evidence right in front of you, such as a husband/wife domestic and the smoking gun. Tom Martin does make a point in regards to the breakdown of the investigative approach taken by the department’s executive team, or at least some of them. My own experience as an investigator was more rewarding when we had a detective office with one mandate: solve crime.
There will always be issues of resources and overtime, but over time a few desk jockeys decided to practice the use of solvability factors---which means dropping a case for expedient purposes if no leads are right in front of you. What was lost there was the prime ingredient of any detective success, which is finding leads where there are none and being given the time to do so. Instead, resources were applied to those cases which had the most promise of being solved and cutting back on staff---some cases like break and enter would be handled by patrol members who also had to respond to regular duties, so focus, and precious time, were lost concerning their investigations.
The end result has given birth to an attitude of generalized policing with the real loss of a detective division where members are cultivated and groomed to be permanent detectives, developing a skill set which requires years of investigating, where cases are not dismissed because of budget or lack of a lead staring you right in the face. There is and should not be any timelines applied in letting go of a file.
The Halifax Regional Police is inundated with many talented officers who need the time to develop their investigative skills, which under the present system makes this very onerous.—Jim Hoskins, Halifax