The Des Moines police department is using a new strategy to fight an increase in burglaries.
For the past five months the department selected four plain-clothed officers as part of a “burglary detail” squad to focus on theft investigations.
It seems to be working.
Officials say the group has made 99 felony arrests and 26 misdemeanor arrests. Twenty seven stolen vehicles are among the items they’ve recovered.
“If detectives develop names, vehicle descriptions, patterns of behavior, patterns of burglary [the four plain-clothed officers have] been able to do follow up a little bit differently being surveillance,” explained Sgt. Jason Halifax.
Sgt. Halifax says not being immediately identifiable as police helps, “Just being out and about, more visible, having more eyes on since they’re not in a role where they’re so obvious and so noticeable.”
With their success, the department had decided to keep the squad intact indefinitely.
The four officers left a void in the number of patrolling officers. The department paid other officers overtime to fill the shifts with the money collected from red light and speed camera violations.