Manpower shortage leads to the dissolution of the St. Joseph County Metro Homicide Unit

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(Photo supplied/The St. Joseph County Homicide Unit)

The St. Joseph County Metro Homicide Unit had a success rate of 80 percent for the last 20 years, solving 8 in 10 murders. Because of a manpower shortage, that investigative unit has closed up shop, sending the officers that comprised the unit back to their individual departments.

“A mother of a victim that is thinking about her son and is feeling sad and she just wants to talk to the investigator whether the case is solved or no, we had really great people here who would sit and listen to them for hours,” said Michael Grzegorek, now the former commander of the unite.

Metro Homicide stopped taking new cases in October, and are now clearing out their headquarters.

“We had a recipe and we stuck to the recipe. This is what we do and we don’t go outside that. We don’t add shooting cases. We don’t add burglary cases,” said the commander.

Now that recipe has to be re-engineered. All of the cops that worked with Metro Homicide are taking their cases back to their respective departments in South Bend, Mishawaka, and the other communities that provided personnel.

“I think we’re going to have three agencies there and three slightly different recipes and that what we’re going to continue work on this time goes on,” said Grzegorek, who spoke to reporters along with St. Joseph County Prosecutor Ken Cotter.

“They weren’t just dedicated to investigate those cases. They were specifically trained to do those,” said Cotter.

The unit was formed in 1993, and was originally called the Special Crimes Unit.

“It wasn’t isolated to just South Bend police officers or Mishawaka police officers,” said Cotter. “I’m sad for the community because we did, I think, really good work here.”

Grzegork said he’s sad that something so successful has to end after 29 years, but he understands that manpower is a problem faced now not only by police departments, but in almost every industry.

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