Sheriff's Department - Criminal Investigations Division

The Sheriff's Office Criminal Investigations Division and Patrol Division have an interlocking working relationship with respect to crimes committed and reported.

With few exceptions, it is usually deputies assigned to our Patrol Division who initiate written reports of alleged crimes reported by alleged victims. These reports are forwarded to the Criminal Investigations Division where investigators assigned to predetermined zones within the county begin the process of determining, first, if the reported crimes actually occurred. Once the validity of a crime report is established, an investigation begins to identify the offender, recover any property stolen and develop a case that will result in the desired outcome: an arrest and conviction.

Reported Major Crimes During 2010
(Compared to 2009)

CRIME20102009
Homicide74
Robbery5875
Burglary871823
Theft of Property1,4591,294
Unlawful B & E to Automobile521529
Rape4434

An example of how deputies assigned to the Patrol Division respond to calls from citizens who report a crime and want a report made. Patrol deputies assist the Criminal Investigations Division through their ability to assess the situation and make an initial determination if what the citizen has reported, in fact, was the case. They were able, through observation, to rule out what had been reported as an alleged burglary. If a determination is made that a reported crime turned out to be in another category, the deputy writes a report documenting what the citizen reported. This is, many times, a report to be filed for future information purposes. Of the 871 alleged burglaries reported, those where observation indicated to the deputy to have been possible or probable actual burglaries, they were distributed to criminal investigators assigned to designated zones within the county. Investigation of the alleged crimes resulted in many being solved, the offender(s) arrested and a large amount of stolen property recovered.

The most noticeable increases in reported crimes were those involving reported cases of Theft of Property and Burglary. However, given the increase in the residential population of Madison County, excluding Huntsville and Madison, and the fact that the Sheriff's Office provides a major Patrol and Investigations role for the small communities of Gurley, New Hope, Triana, and Owens Cross Road (each has small police department), the increase in reported crimes has not been what one would expect.

2010 Estimated Population
Madison County111,768
Huntsville City180,105
Madison City42,938

The Sheriff's Office has made a concerted effort to focus on areas that have been, traditionally, in high-crime areas and there has been a substantial increase on the part of the citizens of Madison County to get involved in partnering with us to hold crime down. What we had been seeing for a number of years, the "it's not my business," has done a turn-around with citizens getting involved by timely reporting suspicious activity or what was perceived as a crime in progress.

Those cases involving "Theft of Property," provide some insight into the reported increase in such crimes with an increase in Convenience/Gas Station businesses. In many cases these businesses only have one person working at any given time, that person being the clerk behind the counter. While most do have surveillance equipment, there is nothing to prevent attempts at shoplifting and driving away without paying for gasoline pumped. These are thefts of property and are included in the comparison between the year 2009 and 2010.

Within the Criminal Investigations Division there are subsections. The Crime Scene Unit processes crime scenes to document conditions at the crime scene, collect evidence and work with investigators toward a goal of building a case that leads to the recovery of property, the arrest of those responsible and for their conviction. The Crime Scene Unit also, in addition to cases being worked by Sheriff's Office investigators, assists surrounding law enforcement agencies with both crime scene investigation and specialized training of personnel.

The Narcotics & Vice Unit exists with a primary goal of taking illicit drugs (or drugs of abuse, both prescription and other) out of the hands of users and conducting investigations aimed at the conviction of persons trafficking in illicit drugs. The Narcotics & Vice Unit also works closely with federal, state and other local law enforcement-related agencies in fighting the war against illicit drugs.