LAKE COUNTY – Changes to the Lake County Metro Homicide Unit are coming in 2023, Lake County Sheriff Oscar Martinez Jr.
Three detectives for the division will be hired as part of the department’s efforts to address staffing shortages, Martinez said. A growing population in south Lake County and many police officers off duty on medical leave or military service have strained the workforce.
“We are redistributing our resources and deploying more police officers across the department as we begin to crack down on crime,” Martinez said in a Facebook post.
The Gary Police Department and Lake County Sheriff’s Department created the unit in 2015 to stop violent crimes in the city. A team of six detectives dedicated time and resources to thoroughly investigate Gary’s murder.
“While my top priority is keeping the sheriff’s department staffed so we can serve all of Lake County, I want the people of Gary to understand that we are not abandoning them,” Martinez said.
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Martinez said Crime Scene Investigation teams will continue to process evidence from crime scenes in Gary. He said officers from the High Crimes Unit, Drug Task Force, Narcotics, Auto Theft and Detective Bureau will continue to investigate the homicide in Gary, where he said most of Lake County’s resources are directed.
As of December 1, Gary has reported 58 homicides this year. In 2021, the city reported a total of 48 murders.
“We will continue to work with the Gary Police Department and provide financial resources as they work to solve the Gary homicide case,” Martinez said.
Three of the six detectives who worked with the homicide unit of the Gary Police Department and will continue to work in the Gary homicide investigation, Cmdr. Jack Hamady said.
“Gary’s murder and gun violence has always been first, homicide and non-murder,” said Hamady. “We’re losing some staff, losing some resources, but CSI will continue to help and kill.”
As part of the team’s creation, a prosecutor from the Lake County Prosecutor’s Office was assigned to assist detectives with the homicide investigation. Mr. Hamady said that the prosecutor’s office will continue to cooperate with the Gary police homicide detectives and will continue to work with them on this case.
“I want people to know that the tests will not change,” said Hamady. “We have experienced, experienced investigators on this.”
The biggest burden, Hamady said, will be on the staff. Detectives may not have as much time to deal with minor crimes, such as misdemeanors, which he said would fall to patrol officers instead of the office. Gary police will move their staff to replace three district investigators. He said that some policemen who have helped in murdering people can go around investigating. The new structure should be clearly visible in the coming weeks.
“We will continue to move forward,” Hamady said.
Gallery: Recent arrests have been made in the Lake County Jail