U.S. attorney touts technology, teamwork in annual crime report to region planners
By Teresa Auch Schultz firstname.lastname@example.org July 17, 2014 12:14PM
David Capp, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Indiana, speaks Thursday to the Northern Indiana Regional Planning Commission at its meeting Thursday in Portage. | Michelle L. Quinn~for Sun-Times Media
Updated: August 19, 2014 6:11AM
PORTAGE — U.S. Attorney David Capp pushed the need for local, state and federal law enforcement groups to work together to combat crime in his annual speech to the Northwestern Indiana Regional Planning Commission.
“It’s a regional problem,” he said at the meeting Thursday in Portage.
Capp went over some of the major cases his office has worked in recent years, including a methamphetamine ring run out of Kouts and the Latin Kings racketeering case that touched on crime both in Northwest Indiana and Chicago.
Capp noted that many of these criminals work in large networks that often cross state lines and can include smaller towns in rural areas, especially when it comes to meth.
“The crime issue flows in many directions,” he said.
He praised the use of science in investigations, explaining gun programs like eTrace, which tracks guns through their serial numbers, and National Integrated Ballistics Information Network Labs, which take images of spent bullets and casing to analyze unique marks on them that let investigators determine which guns they come from.
“These are key pieces of evidence,” Capp said, adding that pieces of gun evidence are what helped his office enlarge the Latin Kings case to 21 defendants.
Capp stressed that all local law enforcement agencies need to work on consistency when it comes to collecting gun evidence and invited local departments to take place in ballistics training that his office will offer soon in South Bend.
He also said he would ideally like to see turnaround time on evidence submitted to NIBIN labs at about 48 hours.
When questioned about the current turnaround times at local NIBIN labs being about a month, Capp said that is likely an “unfortunate reality” of Northwest Indiana’s crime.
“We understand it’s an issue,” he said.
Cedar Lake Robert Carnahan questioned Capp about whether meth continued to be a problem in his town and others after Capp’s prosecution of the ring out of Kouts.
Capp said that meth does continue to be a problem his office is fighting, although he argued it has gone down somewhat.
Hobart Mayor Brian Snedecor asked whether there was anything that elected officials like him could do in talking to state representatives about passing laws that would help Capp’s office.
Capp said that the best thing officials could do right now is to be educated in case a chance comes up for more help from the state.
“There’s a ton of science out there, and we’ve got to use it effectively,” he said.