Chattanooga robbery investigators make history by joining FBI's Safe Streets Task Force
The Chattanooga Police Department is now the first agency in the country to have three robbery investigators sworn in as FBI Task Force officers.
After applying and passing a background test, Officers Giuseppe Troncone, Terry Barnes and Bryon Boller were sworn into the FBI’s Safe Streets Task Force. The force is designed to eliminate violent crime in communities across the country.
According to Sgt. Kendon Massengale, the national average clearance rate reported to the FBI was 29 percent. He says in 2017 the Chattanooga Police Department responded to 330 robberies (33% clearance rate). In 2018, they responded to 337 (35% clearance rate).
“Right now year to date, we're down a 101 robberies from this time last year. That’s huge so I think as we move forward we can see that go down even more,” Sgt. Massengale said.
The police department spokesperson sent a statement saying, “The task force is beneficial to CPD and the community it serves because the concept increases the effectiveness and productivity of limited personnel and logistical resources, avoids duplication of investigations, and consequent wasteful expenditure of resources in matters of concurrent jurisdiction. The task force also expands the cooperation and communication among federal, state and local law enforcement agencies. SSTFs allow the application of sophisticated investigative techniques normally associated with complex organized crime and racketeering investigations.”
Officer Barnes explained that the opportunity came as a surprise.
“I didn't think it was ever going to be possible, but fortunately we've had a good partnership with the FBI and they were all on board,” he explained.
As FBI Task Force Officers, the trio will continue solving cases regarding robbery, armed robbery, kidnapping, extortion, RICO violations, and Hobbs Act. In addition, they will have direct access to the FBI’s database.
“The resources that will be available to us will help us greatly,” said Officer Boller. “Our budget is not like the federal budget is. They have the money they can spend to help us and incorporate those resources into our investigations.”
Officer Trocone also explained they will also have the ability to solve cases faster and go outside of their jurisdiction.
“If we have a case that we want to take federal we just take it federal as opposed to waiting for another agent or something like that,” he said. “Now with our credentials, we're allowed to go outside of city and outside of state and if we have a suspect in Atlanta, GA or Cleveland, OH or something like that we can go up there and look for them.”
The police department hopes to get the remaining three officers within the robbery unit deputized as FBI Task Force officers soon.