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Oct 17, 2012 11:40 PM by Andy Koen

Homicide unit closes almost all cases in 2012

The homicide detectives with the Colorado Springs Police Department have been particularly efficient this year. Eighteen of the city's 19 homicides cases are solved. The only unsolved case remaining is the stabbing death of John Knudsen who was found behind the 8th Street Walmart in August.
Lt. Adrian Vasquez oversees the department's Homicide Unit, which is a part of Violent Crimes Section. He says it is gratifying to bring closure to the families affected by the cases.
"I think everybody who comes to this unit does it for the right reasons and that is to bring closure to the family."
Vasquez explains that each investigation is carefully planned and executed.
"We are very specific about which investigators is going to handle a particular portion of the investigation whether that be interviews or processing of the scene or other aspects that need to be done."
On any given homicide crime scene there will be a minimum of four Detectives, a Sergeant and a Lieutenant. They are joined by a varying number of crime scene technicians, the on-call deputy district attorney and often investigators with the DA's office as well. With that many people around, communication is crucial.
"Really what it comes down to is a lot of discussion, a lot of ensuring that everything is covered."
Vazquez also credits his team's sense of cooperation and individual talent of its members for their success.
"Every time I go out and see some of the things they come up with as a team, it just astounds me still. I can't say enough about how good these guys are."
CSPD's solve rate for 2012 is at an impressive 95 percent. At least two of the victims were targeted by gangs and involved multiple arrests. These numbers also include the case of Dominic Oliver who was shot and killed by the officers after taking several people hostage at a doctors office in February. He was not suspected of murder. However, his death is also counted a homicide.
All told, there have been noticeably fewer homicides cases in Colorado Springs this year at 19, compared to the record 32 cases in 2011.

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