Unsolved homicides from as far back as the 1960s are the focus of the Sacramento Police Department's (SPD) Cold Case Homicide Unit. Detectives assigned to the team have substantial training and expertise investigating cold cases and have worked before on homicide cases.
The Police Department has a multi-pronged strategy while looking into cold cases. To begin, the department investigates any homicides that have gone unsolved for at least a year, or "cold cases." Each case is then assessed for its solveability and its potential consequences for the victim's loved ones and the neighborhood.
Cold case detectives employ a wide range of strategies once they've decided to investigate a case. Witnesses may be re-interviewed, forensic evidence may be re-analyzed with updated tools, and any new information that has surfaced after the investigation was initially opened may also be considered.
The SPD relies heavily on community members for information and leads. The police agency routinely arranges press conferences and community outreach activities to talk about unsolved crimes and get people to talk to them. The division also works with regional media to spread the word about cold cases and encourage suggestions from readers and viewers.
The SPD not only conducts individual case investigations, but also works with the National Missing and Unidentified People System (NamUs) to identify unidentifiable remains and find missing people. A nationwide database of missing persons and unidentified remains may be searched by detectives using this method, giving them a better chance of solving cold cases.
The SPD's approach to solving cold cases is multifaceted, involving both classic and cutting-edge investigation methods, as well as public engagement and cooperation with other law enforcement entities. The department's dedication to bringing victims and their families justice through thorough cold case investigations is a testament to this commitment.