For a total of 11 weeks, the Gabber’s Debbie Wolfe will report from each session of the 2017 Gulfport Citizen’s Police Academy. This is part 2.Law enforcement officials generate, track and maintain a wealth of information in a variety of media formats involving topics like field interview reports, offenses and incidents, arrests, fingerprints and bike registrations said Gulfport’s own records specialist Shirley Dibucci on Thursday, January 26 in the training room at police headquarters.
She described the workflow for each major record category including documentation about a murder that happened in Gulfport on May 23, 1984. Karen Gregory was stabbed to death in her home and the local man convicted and sentenced for her death, George Lewis, died in prison in 2014.
The department continues to maintain two duplicate file cabinets full of records about the Gregory case, one on and one off site, said Dibucci. Other categories of records have a more limited life cycle and are measured in terms of years.
Even bicycle registrations generate a record maintained by the department that includes information like owner’s name, street address and telephone number along with bicycle details like make, model, color, speed, type of frame, wheel size, brake location and the all-important serial number, which is the unique identifier that is often located under the metal frame connecting point located between the two pedals. The cost of the registration form and bike sticker is 25 cents though this is often waved at special local events like Junk in the Trunk.
When law enforcement officials find a bicycle, registration records help them to return the property to its owner, she said. Typically, the department handles from 400 to 500 bike registrations per year.
Detective Jennifer Crowson spoke about her job duties that involve investigating cases that cannot be solved initially by patrol officers such as incidents involving homicides, burglaries, theft, fraud, robberies, sexual predators and offenders, and sexual battery. Gulfport has four detectives, one of whom works under cover. One of them is always on call.
Crime analyst Margaret Palmisano described how she looks for patterns in records to help law enforcement officials monitor for and solve crimes. Twice each year, crime records from Gulfport are submitted to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and from there, state-level information is submitted to the Federal Bureau of Investigation as part of the annual collection of Uniform Crime Reports. (For more information, see ucr.fbi.gov.)
“In 2016, the Gulfport Police Department had a 27 percent clearance rate, which is the highest in 24 years,” said Palmisano. When a crime is cleared, it is solved.
As a public service for local citizens who need a fingerprint record for employment purposes, the department offers manual versions for $5.