CCSO receives county funding for crime analyst position
Cecil County Sheriff’s Office officials know the value of keeping up-to-date statistics and charts when it comes to fighting crime, and that’s why the agency has pushed for the crime analyst position to be funded by the county instead of through state grants, as in the past.
Julianna Logan had served as the department’s full-time crime analyst since 2013 through an annual grant of approximately $46,000, which covered mostly salary and some supplies, CCSO Chief Deputy Gerald Widdoes said. A highly valued employee, Logan left CCSO last month after accepting a similar job with the federal government, he added.
As it turns out, Sheriff Scott Adams and other agency officials had started pushing to make crime analyst a county-funded position several months ago, before this year’s annual budget process started, Widdoes reported. Their lobbying proved successful, resulting in the county supplying $45,440 this fiscal year for CCSO’s full-time crime analyst position, according to Widdoes.
CCSO’s crime analyst position will be posted Monday, and people interested in the job can visit Cecil County Government’s website at ccgov.org, Widdoes said.
As for the crime analyst grant already received for the current fiscal year, which started July 1 and runs through June 30, 2017, that money now will be used for “warrant sweeps” and other Safe Streets operations in specified “high-crime areas” in Cecil County, he explained.
“We won’t lose the money,” Widdoes said.
Noting that there can be inherent drawbacks when filling a position funded exclusively by annual grants, Widdoes emphasized that CCSO was fortunate to acquire and then retain Logan, whom he and others in the agency regarded as an exceptional employee.
CCSO hired Logan in October 2013, some five months after the Childs resident graduated with a criminal justice degree from Mount St. Mary’s University in Emmitsburg, where her studies placed an emphasis on intelligence analysis.
Now that the crime analyst is a county-funded position, however, Widdoes and other agency officials believe their chances of finding another well-credentialed candidate for the job are good.
“Any time you have a grant-funded position, there is uncertainty about job security and benefits. Because it’s an annual grant, a person in that position will ask, ‘Will I still be here next year?’ Job stability comes into question,” Widdoes explained. “We believe this (a countyfunded position) will attract qualified applicants. It’s hard to take a job when it is yearto-year.”
A crime analyst takes an analytic approach to solving crimes, by poring over daily incident reports and calls for service and then recording the types of offenses committed and the calls received, as well as where and when. A crime analyst also may include details about the crimes, such as the method used by a burglar to gain entry into a house, for example.
The crime analyst compiles the information in various forms, including spreadsheets, charts and maps, and it allows deputies and investigators to spot trends much easier. In conjunction with information already developed through investigation, the analytics also can yield clues. In addition, the information sometimes helps in determining where to emphasize patrols.
CCSO officials explained that deputies and investigators do not have the time to perform such detailed, timeconsuming record-keeping because of their daily duties.
Because deputies typically work independently of each other – meaning one deputy might be unaware that something he or she just handled may relate to something a fellow deputy had handled — a crime analyst synthesizes all of the information contained in that hodgepodge of reports and centralizes it, according to Lt. Michael Holmes, a CCSO spokesman.
The analytical approach also helps with crime-solving outside of CCSO.
Holmes reported that, while employed as crime analyst, Logan attended weekly intelligence meetings, which included representatives from every police agency in Cecil County and, on some occasions, ones from Delaware and Pennsylvania.
“We have intel meetings here every Thursday. It allows us to get together with other agencies. It puts us all on the same page and allows us to compare notes,” Holmes said. “You may have the same criminal with the same method of operation, and he’s crossing boundary lines.”
The crime analyst handles only CCSO cases but also has access to reports generated by other police agencies in Cecil County, according to Holmes.
The recorded and charted CCSO information particularly can benefit other police agencies when there is a crime spree involving the same person or people, Holmes said. Due to jurisdiction, he added, it’s common for CCSO, Maryland State Police and even municipal forces within the county to investigate armed robberies, for example, that are part of the same series.
In December 2013, some seven months after starting as CCSO’s crime analyst, Logan explained her job to the Cecil Whig by saying, “I take all of the data and look for trends and patterns. It’s like putting together a giant puzzle . . . They’re (deputies and detectives) busy doing their job; I’m a resource for them.”
CCSO officials are pleased that its crime analysis position is now funded by the county.
“Having a crime analyst is a great asset,” Holmes said.
This file photo shows then-CCSO crime analyst Julianne Logan in December 2013. Logan recently moved to a similar job with the federal government, and the CCSO crime analyst position, which relied solely on state grant money, is now funded by the county.