Our Mission: To provide a safe community where people can live, work, and thrive.
The Computer Crimes Unit is primarily a support unit for the other units in the Criminal Investigations Bureau (CIB), as well as other elements of the Police Department. Members of the unit spend the majority of their time performing forensic examinations on various types of digital media. Throughout 2018, the unit performed numerous forensic examinations on cellular phones, tablets, lap top computers, computers, hard drives, and other devices used to capture digital images and video. These forensic examinations are often the determining factor in prosecution of criminal cases investigated by the Department.
Detectives in the Computer Crimes Unit also assume a proactive role in identifying and arresting suspects illegally possessing and transferring explicit images of children. Examples of cases investigated by the unit in 2018 include the following:
Due to rapidly changing technology and enhanced security features, detectives in the Computer Crimes Unit continually look for ways to enhance their forensic examination efforts and stay abreast of this changing technology. In 2018, the unit purchased digital forensic software for cellular phone extractions that greatly enhanced detectives’ abilities to examine recently released phones and improve their forensic abilities. The software was used immediately to assist on high profile cases, and clear the back log of phones waiting to be examined.
In 2018, the Criminal Intelligence Unit (CIU) continued performing its role of gathering and sharing police related intelligence to members of the Department. In an effort to increase their information base, CIU detectives participated in several multi-agency assignments and task forces which included the East Valley Fusion Center, the Arizona Counter Terrorism Information Center, the Joint Terrorism Task Force, and the National Operations Center. These details and assignments varied in length, from a few months to years. As a result of this participation, the Unit was able to facilitate the distribution of information across all levels of government.
Noteworthy accomplishments for CIU this year include the following:
The CIU understands it is important to both establish and maintain productive working relationships with patrol officers. To help with this, the unit provided classes during the Annual Officer Training that included several topics related to homeland security and crime trends. In addition to the training, CIU met with new officers to explain the Unit’s responsibilities and solicit their help. Patrol officers play a crucial role with the gathering of the information needed to further the Department’s intelligence led policing efforts.
The Financial Crimes Unit (FCU) maintains a steady flow of cases throughout the year. Members of this Unit usually carry a case load that exceeds most of the other Criminal Investigations Bureau (CIB) units. The work load in 2018 proved to be consistent with previous years.
Several of the cases investigated this year highlighted the tenacity of Unit members, as they pursued criminals who victimize the citizens and business of Chandler through fraud, identity theft, and other forms of deceit. In one such case, a suspect who worked for the Fraud Department of an online payment company discovered a glitch in the company’s computer system. He went on to exploit it for his personal gain. Through investigative efforts, the suspect in this case ultimately admitted to stealing $50,000 to $80,000 from the company, somewhat shy of the company’s reported a loss of approximately $150,000.
Identity theft continues to be a prevalent crime in today’s society. Illustrating this, detectives from FCU investigated a ring of identity thieves whose members were responsible for committing numerous crimes in Chandler and other East Valley cities. These suspects assumed the identity of their victims, then obtained hundreds of thousands of dollars through loans, vehicle purchases and credit card transactions. During the investigation, it was discovered that the suspects manufactured credit cards, drivers licenses, and other forms of identification to further their criminal activities.
Detectives from FCU continued their efforts to recover stolen money during the commission of crimes. The extra effort made by these detectives helped to ease the financial burden imposed on victims. For example, this year, detectives were able to freeze bank accounts and recover approximately $50,000 which was ultimately returned to crime victims. As a result of the Unit’s success, other agencies have contacted the Unit to learn about the process they used to recover stolen money.
In addition to their investigative efforts, Unit detectives continued to provide education to the public on ways to prevent fraud, identity theft, and other financially motivated crimes. Detectives presented information on an as-needed basis and to various community groups throughout the year to help prevent some of these crimes.
The Gang Enforcement Unit (GEU) is charged with investigating gang-related crimes. In 2018, Unit detectives continued to be pro-active while on the streets, with a main focus on gang suppression. As such, detectives gathered intelligence to disseminate within the Department and through various interagency intelligence meetings – comprised of local, state and federal partners. In its crime fighting efforts this year, the Unit made 202 arrests with 104 of them being gang members. The GEU continued to investigate graffiti and go after career criminals. This year detectives made a significant arrest of a Mexican Mafia suspect who was responsible for numerous burglaries, stolen vehicles and narcotics sales. Another highlight this year was the assignment of one of the Unit’s detectives to an undercover capacity and an operation called “street sweeper”. This detective participated in 178 undercover operations leading to 100 arrests in multiple cities, 70 of which were gang members. He is highly sought out by other agencies, having established himself as an excellent undercover operative.
The GEU has established itself as the “go-to” unit for other units within the Criminal Investigation Bureau as well as patrol. GEU detectives work to assist anyone who asks for help. As a result, other enforcement accomplishments include:
This year, the GEU continued a secondary mission of targeting career criminals with a focus on follow-through with prosecution. Working directly with a newly formed Intelligence Led Prosecution Unit at the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office, Unit detectives identified and submitted cases on 25 career criminals.
An important aspect of the Unit is its community outreach and education efforts. The GEU continued its standing relationship with the Improving Chandler Area Neighborhoods (ICAN) organization. The Unit conducted presentations on gang-related issues at ICAN, CUSD, the Arizona Cardinals organization, and numerous local colleges. The GEU continued training veteran officers during a “pro-active patrol” class, taught both internally and to other agencies as well. A Gang Liaison Officer (GLO) class was also presented for Chandler Police GLO’s and outside agencies.
The Chandler Police Department’s Human Trafficking Unit is comprised of a sergeant, four detectives and a shared investigative analyst. One detective is assigned to the FBI’s Greater Phoenix Area Human Trafficking Task Force. In 2018, the Human Trafficking Unit continued its mission to investigate and dismantle individuals and organizations that engage in sex trafficking, prostitution, child prostitution, luring, and pandering. This year, the unit had affected over sixty (60) felony arrests. Listed below are a few examples of outstanding work that was conducted by the Unit detectives in 2018.
In 2018, the Narcotics Unit continued to dedicate itself to the mission of disrupting and dismantling narcotic organizations through criminal prosecution. The unit has continued to address street level narcotic sales in order to have a direct impact on the Chandler community. The goal behind this approach was to identify complex drug trafficking organizations that are supplying the street level dealers and to target them
The unit has continued to have a strong working relationship with the Department’s patrol division. The Unit recognizes that patrol officers provide valuable information from the contacts that they make with the public on a daily basis. As a result of these relationships, detectives have been able to develop a number of quality investigations that have led to significant seizures and prosecution of a number of suspects.
This year, the Narcotics Unit continued to partner with federal organizations by having a detective assigned to a Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) Task Force. The collaborative effort between the Chandler Police Department and federal partners allows for access to resources and prosecution through the federal court system. The unit has also continued to work alongside other local, state and federal agencies.
The following cases highlight the some of the successes that come from the hard work and dedication of the Narcotics detectives:
The Narcotics Unit has committed itself to the mission at hand, and continues to foster strong working relationships in order to disrupt and dismantle the narcotic organizations that are operating in Chandler. Aside from their regular duties, the Unit members assist other units within the Criminal Investigation Section on a continual basis. The Narcotics Unit also continues to teach various narcotic-related courses to internal and external customers.
Property Crimes are generally the most prevalent crimes affecting the citizens of Chandler. Residential, commercial, and vehicular burglaries are a few of the typical types of property crimes. In 2018, detectives assigned to the Property Crimes Unit maintained a proactive stance in their investigative efforts to deter, detect, and successfully prosecute the criminals who engage in these types of crimes.
Some notable cases for 2018 are as follows:
Organized retail theft continues to be an issue for the businesses in Chandler. Most of the crimes associated with organized retail theft are fueled by drug use. Property stolen during these crimes are often sold or traded to feed drug habits. Members of the Property Crimes Unit investigated several organized retail theft cases that led to the successful prosecution of the suspects involved, and closed numerous shoplifting cases that occurred at Chandler businesses. In one such case, detectives from the Unit began investigating an organized retail theft case involving the theft of baby formula from several businesses in Chandler and throughout the Valley. Although the investigation is still on-going, it is believed that the formula is being shipped to California and being sold at WIC certified businesses. The same California recipient of the formula has been identified by at least one other Valley law enforcement agency during a separate investigation.
Arson and fire related investigations are conducted by specially trained and certified investigators within the Property Crimes Unit. In 2018, one additional detective was certified as an arson investigator. This year, these detectives investigated several fires that occurred in the City, and assisted with some that occurred on county islands. Fire investigations may be initiated because the cause appears suspicious at the time of the original call. After an in-depth investigation, the cause of the fire is often determined to be non-criminal. However, in some cases, the investigation reveals a fire that was started with criminal intent. This year, one such fire occurred in a residential playground. The suspects intentionally started a small fire that grew and threatened the surrounding residences. Fortunately there was no damage to the surrounding houses, but the playground equipment sustained a substantial amount of damage. The detective assigned to the case was able to identify the suspects and subsequently charged them.
Detectives in the Property Crimes Unit continued to leverage technology to assist in their investigations. In 2018, three GPS units were purchased through a grant. These trackers and others like them have been used by detectives with a great deal of success. Rapid DNA was also used this year to help solve a commercial burglary.
In 2018, the Robbery/Homicide Unit investigated six homicides. Tragically, the City of Chandler saw a significant increase in suicides in 2018. The Unit responded to 27 suicides, up from 19 in 2017. The most common means of suicide was use of a handgun (22) followed by hanging (2). The number of accidental deaths by drug overdose was 10, the same from 2017. The most common means being prescription pills (6), followed by heroin (3) then fentanyl (1).
Other notable cases investigated by the Unit include:
The Robbery/Homicide Unit continued to provide top notch service to the citizens of Chandler. The clearance rate for violent crimes far exceed the national average and is one factor why Chandler is cited as one of the safest big cities in the U.S.
In 2018, the Special Victims Unit (SVU) worked over 600 investigations involving serious crimes of physical and/or sexual abuse committed against adults and children. In addition, this unit tracked over 190 registered sex offenders living within the City of Chandler. The sensitive and complex nature of these cases requires that an SVU detective complete hundreds of hours of specialized training. SVU partners with the Victims Services Unit, Department of Child Safety, forensic nurse examiners and many other organizations on a daily basis while conducting these investigations.
In addition to the unit’s regular duties, SVU detectives assisted the Victim Services Unit with the opening of the Chandler Family Advocacy Center in July. The center is dedicated to providing a single location for multiple disciplines such as forensic nurses, child safety workers, victim advocates and mental health professionals. SVU detectives also assisted the Robbery Homicide Unit with the multiple homicide investigations and the unit remained active participants on the Arizona Child Abduction Response Team (AZ CART), a multi-jurisdictional team tasked with responding across the state to an event of a critically missing or endangered child.
On July 26, 2018, the Chandler Police Department opened the Chandler Family Advocacy Center (FAC). The Victim Services Unit (VSU) assisted in the planning and designing of this victim centered facility. This center is a single location where comprehensive, investigative services take place. In the FAC, VSU worked alongside patrol officers, detectives from the Special Victim’s Unit and Homicide Unit, forensic nurse examiners, members of the Department of Child Safety and Office of Child Welfare, Crisis Interventionists, and Forensic Interviewers to aid in crime victims’ healing and recovery.
During 2018, the VSU assisted over 1,100 victims of all crime types. The unit worked with victims and families of several felony cases: 20 loved ones of homicide victims, 121 victims and families of aggravated assaults, 240 of child sexual abuse, 10 of child pornography, and 58 of sexual assaults. Throughout the year the VSU received specialized training to assist traumatized victims, individuals with mental health issues, substance use, behavioral issues, and traumatic brain injuries.
Along with providing individual assistance to the crime victims, the unit continued to work collaboratively with agencies in the community.