Homicide-Felony Assault Unit
The City of Tacoma averages approximately 18 homicides per year; the actual number fluctuates constantly. Historically, the Unit has investigated as many as 35 and as few as 9 homicides in a single year. Each homicide investigation requires hundreds of hours of documentation and courtroom testimony. Over the last six years, the Tacoma Police Department's Homicide Unit has averaged a 95% clearance rate compared to the national average of 61%.
The City of Tacoma averages over 700 felony assaults per year. These assaults result in great bodily harm, or even death. Due to the often complex nature of felony assaults, these cases require as much documentation as a homicide investigation. Within this area of investigation fall many of the violent gang crimes that occur in Tacoma. The Tacoma Police Department has identified dozens of active gang sets within the City of Tacoma, with a total membership exceeding 1,000 individuals. The Homicide-Felony Assault Unit works closely with the Federal Bureau of Investigation's South Sound Task Force to monitor and investigate violent gang crime. In partnership with the FBI, the Tacoma Police actively pursue those gangs operating within the City of Tacoma that are responsible for extensive and often prolific criminal behavior.
Adult Missing Persons
In our city of approximately 200,000 people, an average of five adults is reported missing every week. A high percentage of missing persons return home on their own, unharmed. Detectives assigned to this Unit investigate unresolved cases.
Cold Case Unit
The Tacoma Police Department has 161 cold case homicides dating back to the early 1960s. In February 2011, the Department assigned a full-time homicide Detective to work cold case investigations. Due to advances in forensic and DNA technology, members of the Homicide Unit feel very strongly that a significant number of these cases can be solved. Additionally, the Cold Case Unit works in partnership with the Pierce County Sheriff's Department, as well as other agencies within Pierce County to develop a regional approach to cold case homicide investigation. A collaborative approach to cold case investigations will ensure success locally and have a considerable effect on the status of many cold cases throughout the county.
Special Assaults Unit
This is a highly motivated and determined group of Detectives responsible for crimes against children and elders in our community. The gamut of these crimes is physical and sexual abuse to children, sexual assaults of adults, and elder abuse. Investigations are initiated by our Operations Bureau and outside agencies.
The Tacoma Police maintain a cooperative partnership with Child Protective Services (CPS) and Adult Protective Services (APS) for criminal investigations. In fact, most investigations are generated by referrals from CPS. This Unit investigates over 600 cases of sexual assault and abuse annually.
Sex Offender Registration and Tracking Unit
This Unit works closely with the Pierce County Sheriff's Department to ensure violent or repeat sex offenders register their location of residence according to State legal requirements. With over 900 sex offenders identified and living in the city limits of Tacoma, the Tacoma Police Department employs two full-time Detectives assigned to track and monitor sex offender registration. Detectives conduct follow-up investigations of offenders believed to abscond from their residence of record or violate conditions of release from the institution.