The Investigative Division is comprised of the Detective Bureau, Vice, Gambling & Narcotics Squad, Youth & Family Support Squad and Scientific Investigation Unit. In addition there are also squads that come together as needed, including the Sex Offense Squad, Fire Investigation Squad and Evidence Squad.
The detective bureau is responsible for investigating all homicides, suspicious deaths, robberies, burglaries, frauds, bad checks, identity thefts, larcenies and assaults, among other incidents. Detectives have seen a rapid rise in cases of identity theft and computer crimes and have been sent to seminars to learn how to deal with this rising crimes. Detectives assigned work closely with federal, state and other local police departments. To ensure good interaction between the detective bureau and the local school districts a detective from the bureau is assigned to each of the four high schools, tasked with investigating any incident involving a youth 16 years old or more. Youths younger than that fall under the Youth and Family Support Squad. Another important task within the Detective Bureau is warrant handling. A detective appears in court on any extradition hearing.
Sex Offense Squad
A detective lieutenant and four detectives are assigned; this squad is only called out as needed. Investigators assigned to this squad investigate any sex crime occurring with the Town. Detectives assigned to this unit receive additional training to better investigate these crimes and to assist the victims. This squad is responsible for maintaining a list of Registered Sex Offenders living within the Town of Cheektowaga, and for making community notifications on certain RSOs.
Fire Investigation Squad
Three detectives are assigned to this squad. Each has received specialized training to determine cause and origin of fires. Working closely with the volunteer fire companies within the Town, the investigators are called to respond to fires of a suspicious origin.
Scientific Investigation Unit
The Scientific Investigation Unit is responsible for providing technical services and applying scientific methods and equipment in criminal investigations conducted by all divisions of the Cheektowaga Police Department. The scope of the services provided include:
- Identification: The unit's services are made available to the medical examiner and area hospitals for the identification of unknown dead persons.
- Crime Scene Examinations: Crime scene search, evidence preservation, collection and analysis, scene evaluation and reconstruction at locations of major crimes.
- Photography: Providing photographic evidence of major crimes and other investigations and providing photographic laboratory services to all divisions in the department.
- Laboratory examinations: Chemical processing and analysis of physical evidence for investigations.
- Latent Fingerprints: Examination and processing of physical evidence for fingerprints and the identification of criminal suspects.
Four detectives are assigned to this new squad, designed to assist the Scientific Investigation Unit at major crime scenes. The members of this squad work other investigative assignments and are called together as needed.
Vice, Gambling & Narcotics
The Vice, Gambling and Narcotics Unit investigates all phases of investigations involving the sale and possession of controlled substances, gambling offenses and prostitution. The unit is designed to interact with other law enforcement agencies as well as with members of the community. The VGN Unit routinely conducts local and regional narcotics investigations while coordinating and analyzing extensive criminal intelligence. The unit investigates violations of the Alcoholic Beverage Control Act and makes referrals to the State Liquor Authority regarding licensed premises. Responsibility for the enforcement of games of chance, bell jar tickets and raffles also rests with VGN. The unit conducts an investigation of each event before the issuance of licenses to authorize legal gambling by certain non-profit organizations. An on-site inspection is conducted to ensure games are conducted within the rules and regulations of the New York State Racing and Wagering Board. This inspection has also identified persons who cheat or rig the games to pay out in their favor. The Unit investigates and recommends approval or disapproval of all pistol permit applications. A thorough background check is completed for each applicant including interviews of applicants and their character references. Any police report or arrest concerning the applicant is examined before recommendation for approval is made to the Erie County Pistol Permit Bureau. The VGN Unit prepares and coordinates all phases of criminal asset forfeiture and seizure.
Youth and Family Support
The Youth and Family Support Unit has a dual mission. They are responsible for investigations in which juveniles (less than 16 years of age) are involved. They are also responsible for investigations involving family violence. Regarding juveniles the unit is responsible for:
- Conducting investigations into events involving endangering the welfare of a child, unlawfully dealing with a child, child abuse, child neglect or abandonment, children who are unlawfully employed and other related crimes in which an infant or juvenile is a victim.
- Actively searching for missing persons, especially missing juveniles and runaways from home, court jurisdictions and institutions
- Supervising the process of making referrals to Family Court, the child abuse hotline, child protective services
- Maintaining the security and confidentiality of all juvenile records
- Investigating incidents occurring in the school districts in town and maintaining a good working relationship with school officials
- Making referrals for counseling
- Regarding family offenses, the unit is responsible for investigating complaints that involve crimes occurring within a domestic setting. This may involve husband and wife, children and parents, individuals living together and others. Investigators also file for warrants against individuals who violate Orders of Protections Investigators work closely with members of the Domestic Violence Unit of the Erie County District Attorney's Office.