The Investigations Division is comprised of the:
- Criminal Investigations Unit
- Special Investigations Unit
- Support Services Unit
- Professional Standards Unit
The Criminal Investigations Unit is responsible for the investigation of major felony offenses, select misdemeanors, missing persons, deaths, offenses involving juveniles and the processing of evidence. Property and Evidence is also included in this unit. The Special Investigations Unit is primarily responsible for narcotics investigations, but is also charged with investigating gambling and prostitution offenses. The Support Services Unit includes Educational Services, which provides School Resource Officers to County schools Employee Development, which is responsible for employee training, Recruitment and Selection, which handles all aspects of the hiring process, Accreditation, which is responsible for maintaining all necessary information to maintain compliance with accreditation standards, and Police Information Processing, which is primarily responsible for maintaining the Department's records and providing 24-hour access for both public and officer inquiries.
The Criminal Investigations Unit is supervised by a captain and two sergeants. The unit includes criminal investigators, crimes scene investigators, and a forensic computer investigator. This unit conducts all major case investigations handled by the Department, including computer crimes, and processes all major crime scenes. In addition, the unit also oversees case management for all cases assigned to officers. The GIS Crime Analyst is also part of this unit.
The Special Investigations Unit is supervised by a captain and two sergeants. The unit conducts investigations that focus on the sale and possession of illegal drugs, gambling, illegal alcohol sales and prostitution.
The Support Services Unit is supervised by a captain. The unit includes the Educational Services Section, which provides school resource officers to schools in Gaston County, Employee Development and Training Section and the Recruitment and Selection Section. The unit also supervises the Citizen Police Academies and the Explorer Post.
The Educational Services Section is supervised by the Support Services Unit captain and two Educational Services Section sergeants. School Resource officers are placed at schools throughout the County and their primary duties are to ensure a safe school environment conducive to learning, act as counselors in law-related issues and act as teachers of subjects related to law enforcement. The Department continues to partner with Gaston County Schools, implementing programs and courses aimed at keeping students and staff in a safe learning environment.
The Records Section operates twenty-four hours a day. The unit's primary responsibilities are to maintain, store and retrieve police records. Records Unit staff often serve as the first voice and contact encountered on behalf of the Department. The Unit is available to provide access to the Department's National Crime Information Center (NCIC) files as required and to provide information and services to residents, Department personnel and other local law enforcement agencies as requested.
The Professional Standards Unit is supervised by a captain. The unit is tasked with investigating complaints made against any Police, Animal Control or Telecommunications employees and reports directly to the Office of the Chief of Police. The unit supervises the Crime Analyst/Planner, Accreditation Section, Victim/Witness Section, Property and Evidence Section and the Records Section.
Property & Evidence
The Property and Evidence Section is responsible for the storage and maintenance of all items seized by the Department during criminal investigations. In order for an item of evidence to be admissible in court, its "chain of custody" must be maintained. This means the evidence must be housed in a secure area and each person having contact with the evidence is documented. This information is used later at trial to show the item is in the same condition as it was when it was first collected. To accomplish this goal, the Unit has one sworn officer in charge of the evidence room. Each item of evidence is logged and classified using a barcode tracking system. Once a criminal prosecution has been completed, the evidence must be returned to the rightful owner, destroyed or forfeited, depending on the disposition of the charges and the type of property seized. Illegal contraband is always destroyed regardless of the disposition of the criminal charges.
Employee Development & Training Unit
The Employee Development and Training Section is responsible for ensuring that all officers and employees receive all initial mandatory and specialized training required to perform their jobs. This unit is supervised by a sergeant.
Recruitment & Selection Unit
The Recruitment and Selection Section is responsible for recruiting applicants, receiving and reviewing incoming applications, scheduling and conducting candidate interviews, completing background investigations and screening applicants through relevant job-related testing.
Crime Analyst / Planner
The Crime Analyst/Planner provides crime analyses, prepares the Department's monthly and annual reports, assists officers with investigations, provides technical assistance with computerized records management, provides crime video viewing and editing, performs graphic design and publication design, disseminates crime-related information to the general public via social media platforms to identify suspects and to increase public awareness regarding criminal activity and safety, serves as the Department's point of contact for updates to the Department's website pages. The Crime Analyst/Planner also works with local law enforcement agencies to disseminate case-related information and provide technical assistance whenever needed. The Crime Analyst/Planner also serves as the point of contact for available grant funding and performs required reporting for awarded grants.
Accreditation & Victim Witness Coordinator Units
The Accreditation Section is responsible for maintaining the required records for accreditation through the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA). The Department has maintained CALEA accreditation since 1991. The CALEA accreditation program requires agencies to comply with standards in four primary areas: policy and procedures, administration, operational procedures and support services. The Department's compliance with these standards is accessed vi a a web-based review annually and an on-site assessment every four years.
Victim & Witness Coordinator
The Victim/Witness Section provides referral assistance to victims and witnesses of all types of crimes and traumatic incidents. Services offered through the Department may include emotional support, ensuring victims are informed of their rights and assistance in finding and obtaining appropriate resources.