Michiana sheriff’s departments combining effortsPublished 4:33pm Friday, January 6, 2012
Three Michiana law enforcement agencies believe that by working together they can catch more criminals.
That is why the Berrien County, Cass County and St. Joseph County, Ind., sheriff’s departments are taking steps to improve their ability to communicate and cooperate with one another.
Berrien County Sheriff Paul Bailey said the departments are looking at purchasing radios that would allow patrol units in the three counties to talk to one another.
“We are working all the details out, but we should know about the radios within the next two to three weeks,” Bailey said.
The radios would be outfitted in patrol cars that work the south end of Berrien County, Bailey said, and not in all cars. So if a break-in occurred in Niles Township, Berrien County deputies could inform St. Joseph County deputies directly.
“What we’ve done in the past is if something happens we would have dispatch send a message to St. Joe County saying we have something and then they’d put it out,” Bailey said. “They were getting it, but you can’t communicate. This way they’ll be able to talk to one another and meet up if they want to talk about it.”
The move to strengthen the communication between agencies began with a series of smash and grab burglaries occurring over the past several months in the Michiana area. Working together, the departments caught two men they believe are responsible for many of the break-ins.
“The criminals don’t know the boundary lines and if they do they don’t care about them,” Cass County Sheriff Joseph Underwood said. “So it is important that we communicate with our neighboring counties because for crimes that are happening at their borders, if we aren’t communicating about them we don’t know they are happening. We can do a lot more if we are communicating with each other.”