The Special Investigations component of the unit is responsible for the investigation, arrest and prosecution of persons involved in the sale of controlled dangerous substances. Unit detectives engage in a host of investigative activities ranging from traditional undercover police work such as buy/bust operations, reversal, and courier interdictions to highly sophisticated wiretap investigations. The scope of these investigations includes everything from simple street level dealing to complex distribution conspiracies and may focus on specific individuals, residences or areas within the county that have been identified through the collection of intelligence information.
Often, when suspected drug activity involves more than one community or crosses county lines, unit detectives participate in a task force comprised of all law enforcement agencies within the affected area.
In addition to prosecuting significant cases, assistant prosecutors in the unit provide legal guidance both within the unit and to outside law enforcement agencies. They also assist in the preparation and review of all search warrants, applications for consensual interceptions, communication data warrants and electronic surveillance applications.
The unit plays a critical role in combating illegal drug activity by providing training, technical assistance and equipment to police departments throughout Mercer County. Detectives and assistant prosecutors also assist schools within the county in delivering the important anti-drug message to our youth.
The goal of the unit’s Gang component is to effectively and jointly combat gang activity and gang crime throughout Mercer County. The unit promotes a closer working relationship among gang investigators, law enforcement and the public. It also enables extensive information gathering, rapid dissemination of intelligence and exchange of information concerning gang-related incidents and membership. The information gathered is shared with law enforcement agencies both inside and outside of Mercer County.
The unit utilizes vertical prosecution in the handling of its matters, allowing an assigned assistant prosecutor to handle a case from inception to disposition. Assistant prosecutors in the unit are involved in the cases from preliminary investigation to grand jury presentation, and ultimately handle the trials of all gang-related matters. Vertical prosecution provides a familiarity with the investigation, evidence and witnesses that is essential to successful prosecution. Assistant prosecutors also monitor and track the gang member when he/she enters the criminal justice system for the purpose of bail applications and appear in court on all matters relative to the prosecution of the case.