FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
The Springfield Police Department recognized members of the Special Investigations Unit (SIU) on May 2 during an internal awards ceremony, for performing at record levels in 2015-2016. (Due to the covert nature of their assignments, photos are unavailable.)
During this time frame, SIU made a total of 578 felony arrests, 362 of these occurring in 2016. This is a new record for the unit, as the previous record for felony arrests in a year was 314. The unit also seized a record-breaking 101 firearms in 2016, with a two-year total of 197. SIU has consistently increased the number of weapons seized each year as they continue to place an emphasis on dangerous criminals. Additionally, SIU set new unit records in several categories including cases initiated, stolen vehicles recovered, and the amounts of cocaine heroin seized. This was all accomplished while SIU was operating below their authorized strength r for most of the 2015-2016 time period.
Since 2015, SIU has conducted two large drug conspiracy investigations. The first, “Southside Hustle,” was a heroin investigation involving suspects from out of town who were importing heroin into Springfield for distribution. This investigation led to multiple federal indictments, with the two main targets being sentenced to 384 months and 234 months respectively. The second, “Operation Picket Fence,” focused on a gang member with ties to a Mexican cartel who were distributing methamphetamine in Springfield. After a lengthy investigation, six targets were sentenced in federal court to a total of 1,017 months.
SIU also worked closely with the SPD’s Violent Crimes Unit on “Operation Crossfire,” which has an ongoing mission of targeting suspects who are known to be armed and involved in violent crimes. At the end of 2016, 12 of the 16 targets were incarcerated in state or federal prisons.
“These officers do such incredible work behind the scenes that most people never even hear about,” said Police Chief Paul Williams. “It was important for us to recognize that their efforts and sacrifices are not going unnoticed. We live in a safer Springfield because of them.”
Due to the type of investigations SIU is tasked with, officers are required to change their schedules and work hours often with very short notice. “SIU has consistently put the department’s needs before their own personal needs in order to achieve successful investigations,” said Lt. Eric Reece, commander of SPD’s Special Investigations Section.
2015-2016 Special Investigations Unit statistics
- Felony arrests: 578 (362 arrests in 2016 / previous record was 314 in a year)
- Firearms seized: 197 (96 seized in 2015, 101 seized in 2016 / previous record was 84)
- Search warrants: 109
- Cases initiated: 561 (362 initiated in 2016 / previous record was 314)
- Cases presented: 307 to State, 31 to Federal
- Recovered stolen vehicles: 62 (44 vehicles recovered in 2016 / previous record was 18)
- Cocaine seized: 1.16 pounds (1.16 pounds seized in 2016 / previous record was 0.39 pounds)
- Heroin seized: 1.3 pounds (previous record was 0.63 pounds)
- Methamphetamine seized: 40.5 pounds
- Marijuana seized: 99.7 pounds
The unit's sergeant, corporal and six officers each received the SPD Command Commendation for their work in the SIU.
A Command Commendation is a departmental award which shall be presented to department personnel who distinguish themselves by a single act or series of actions that impact the community in a positive manner, or significantly improve the ability of the department to fulfill its mission.
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Lisa Cox, Public Affairs Officer