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Vail Daily letter: It’s not like the TV shows

Rodger McLaughlin Eagle Police chief
Joseph D. Hoy Eagle County sheriff
letters@vaildaily.com

Members of the community,

A letter written to you, which was printed on Tuesday, Oct. 5 concerning the theft of a vehicle has provided us with an opportunity to discuss the topic of mutual aid and support amongst law enforcement agencies within the county.

A vehicle stolen is a town within our county does not happen very often, and that is something we in law enforcement are very proud of. When a crime like the one described in the letter does occur, it take time and the combined efforts of several agencies to try and catch these crooks.



On Sept. 11, a vehicle stolen from within the jurisdiction of Eagle Police Department was later located in the jurisdiction of the Eagle County Sheriffs Office. During the time of the initial call reporting the theft and the location of the vehicle, there are dispatchers who work to place the vehicle in the crime computer and many officers throughout the valley searching for the vehicle once it is aired to all law enforcement agencies. Each one of those officers takes their responsibility seriously to try and locate the stole vehicle.

In a rural mountain area, such as ours, law enforcement agencies in general do not have access to some of the modern systems that are available to many metropolitan areas or that we may see on some television crime drama. The enhancement of a video tape to identify a suspect must be sent to a Front Range lab, where technicians may be able to produce a photo of someone in our community we can later identify. Because of the demands of many agencies place on the lab, this process may take upwards of six to eight weeks, not the almost instantaneous results depicted in the media. Fingerprints and tire track identification are not in database at our fingertips. Cell phone and computer record access takes time as search warrants must be approved through the court system.



We understand the frustration the public feels when calls like this are not closed within a certain amount of time or the outcome does not meet the expectations of the victim or the community. However, you need to know that all of us in law enforcement are doing our very best to provide the community with the highest level of service with the resources made available to us.


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