The General Investigations Division is responsible for investigating reports of crime, apprehending suspects, and taking an active role in tracking repeat offenders.
Detectives are assigned either to Property or Violent Crimes. They are responsible for investigating crimes, collecting all evidence in a case, apprehending suspects, and preparing the case for prosecution. The division also gathers intelligence information, processes crime scenes, and securely maintains all evidence.
General Investigations Units
The Detective Division is responsible for follow-up investigations on all felony cases that occur within the city limits of Winter Haven. Its main objectives are protection of lives, recovery of property, and prosecution of individuals committing offenses.
The Detective Division performs, but is not limited to, the following investigative tasks:
- Crimes against persons: Exploitation of the elderly, rape, robbery, homicide, missing persons/runaways
- Crimes against property: Burglaries, vehicle thefts and fraud
- Intelligence gathering and distribution: Gangs, career criminals
- Identification and crime scene unit: Photographs, fingerprints, and evidence at crime scenes
- Liaison with the State Attorney's office: Coordination and transmittal of court documents
Crime Scene Unit
The Crime Scene Unit responds to various crime scenes that require the collection and preservation of evidence which is more time-consuming and technically difficult to process than a responding Uniform Services is able to accomplish. This Unit also processes evidence and transports evidence for more technical processing to the Florida Department Law Enforcement Crime Lab.
Emergency Response Team (ERT)
To address the increasing number of high-risk incidents, such as barricaded suspects, hostage situations, and warrant service, as well as other specialized tactical assignments, law enforcement agencies are creating specially trained and equipped units. The Winter Haven Police Department created and utilizes a unit known as the Emergency Response Team (ERT), commanded by the Captain of the Investigative Services Bureau.
Members of the ERT are selected from the ranks of experienced police officers at the Winter Haven Police Department. Members must maintain good physical condition and be proficient with a number of weapons. Members must pass periodic physical proficiency tests to maintain their position on the ERT.
The ERT philosophy is that all lives, including those of hostile forces, are of primary concern, and that it shall continually strive for a peaceful resolution of any situation.
The Winter Haven Police Honor Guard was established to represent the department, its members and their families at police funerals, parades, and other ceremonial occasions. The goal of the unit is to render honors, preserve tradition, stimulate Esprit-de-corps, and instill pride. The Honor Guard exists to pay respect and to give honor to those who serve in exemplary fashion, and particularly to remember those whose lives were dedicated to the service of their community.
The Honor Guard is a self-sufficient unit that trains together as a flexible and disciplined team. The Honor Guard personifies professional decorum, and respect, and strives toward perfection in the presentation and display of The Colors of the State of Florida and The United States of America.
The Honor Guard performs at public functions such as parades, police officer burials, holiday observances, and other appropriate public exhibitions.