Today's Question: What do you think about the police department removing its detective from the Internet Crimes Task Force?

Monday, November 30, 2009 | 12:01 a.m. CST; updated 5:02 p.m. CST, Monday, November 30, 2009

The Columbia Police Department recently removed one of its officers from the Mid-Missouri Internet Crimes Task Force for budget reasons.

The task force, which comprises detectives from local law enforcement agencies, conducts criminal investigations and provides investigative and forensic assistance to agencies across a seven-county region. Its detectives focus mostly on crimes against children, including possession of child pornography and enticement.

Mike Lederle, who the Columbia police department pulled from the office, conducted forensic examinations for the task force. He analyzed digital files — whether they were on computers, external hard drives, cell phones, CDs or DVDs — to determine what evidence was present.

The decision to remove Lederle was part of the department’s larger cost-cutting strategy. The department has also eliminated the Community Services Unit and the School Resource Officer sergeant position.

“We had to look at personnel and make the very best choices regarding personnel placement,” Public Information Officer Jessie Haden said. “We could not continue to do some of the things we were doing and effectively staff the department as needed.”

But detectives at the task force said losing Lederle means they will be able to handle fewer cases. They can still identify suspects, but they need the special skills of forensic examiners to analyze computers and other electronic evidence.

What do you think about the Columbia police department removing its detective from the Mid-Missouri Internet Crimes Task Force?

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