Monday, October 27, 2008

Congratulations Are In Order

Our police department is filled with men and women who do outstanding work. I hope you don’t mind if from time to time I use this blog to tell you about them.

Officer Eric Larson and Officer Dave Menendez work in our lab. Everyday, they examine ballistic evidence from crime scenes, trying to determine if perhaps a weapon used in one crime, might also have been used in others. Here’s how it works.

When a gun is fired, it leaves markings on the bullet and the shell casing. Those markings are unique, like fingerprints. Thanks to a special program, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, allows us to use special equipment to retrieve digital images of the markings on bullets and shell casings. That equipment checks the evidence against every other piece of evidence in the system and produces a list of possible matches. That’s where Officer Larson and Officer Menendez come in. They check each individual image, comparing them side by side, analyzing the markings, trying to determine if there’s a hit—two images that match.

I’m sure the work might seem tedious at times—sifting through hundreds of images everyday, trying to line up the smallest of markings, but they do it well. So well, that on Friday, Officer Eric Larson and Officer Dave Menendez were honored by ATF for reaching a milestone of 300 hits since 2002. They’ve linked firearms to crimes throughout St. Louis, St. Louis County and the region. Some of those links likely would’ve never been discovered otherwise. This is also a reflection of the outstanding work of our Evidence Technicians—the men and women who recover the evidence from crime scenes. Job well done!

I also want to take time to commend the 15 officers who were promoted this month. Angela Coonce was promoted from Sergeant to Lieutenant. Kevin Androff, Joseph Carretero, Darnell Dandridge, Larry Davis, James Kenny, Linda Mopkins, Thomas Muldrow, James Murphy, James Przada, Terrell Robinson, Christopher Simeone, Jeremy Stockmann, Antonio Triplett and Darryl Walker were all promoted from Officer to Sergeant. Back on July 16th, Edward Benoist, James Clark, Randy Jemerson and Kelly McGinnis were also all promoted from Officer to Sergeant. The Metropolitan Police Department will host a Promotion Ceremony next month to present all of those who’ve been promoted recently, with their new badges.

Reaching the next level is a big accomplishment, and these men and women and their families should be proud.