Texas Sheriffs Today
Oct. 24, 2014

Serial killer case stretches to Texas
The Associated Press via The Jackson Sun
Investigators in two states are reviewing unsolved murders and missing person reports after the arrest of an Indiana man who police say confessed to killing seven women and hinted at more victims over a 20-year span. But determining whether others have fallen prey to Darren Vann, 43, a former Marine convicted of sexual assault in Texas in 2009, could take years, a former high-ranking agent at the FBI's Chicago office said. That some of his alleged victims may have been prostitutes or had fallen through society's cracks could also complicate the investigation.More

Dallas police to test more than 4,000 rape kits
More than 4,000 rape kits, some sitting for years, have been untouched until now. The Dallas Police Department is planning to clear that backlog, which could lead to hundreds of new rape investigations and give victims a sense of justice and peace of mind. Dallas Police Department just got the money to test the backlog of kits. About 250 will be sent every month to Orchid Cellmark, a DNA testing company in Farmer's Branch. Officials say each test will cost about $500.More

Harris County Sheriff's Office remembers fallen deputies with memorial garden
Humble Observer
Symbolic of their dedication to the Harris County Sheriff's Office, the HCSO Citizens Police Academy Alumni Association created a heart-shaped garden outside of their Humble substation in honor of two fallen deputies. Deputy Doug Noll and Deputy Shane Bennett were both honored for their service to HCSO through a special ceremony on Oct. 14 where their families in attendance were assured that Noll and Bennett were gone but not forgotten.More

Law enforcement in Comal County to get cameras
Austin American-Statesman
A week after New Braunfels police say Lisa Hermes was shot dead by her husband in front of their three children, law enforcement agencies in Comal and Guadalupe counties are getting new tools to combat domestic violence. Officers with the Comal County sheriff's office, New Braunfels Police Department and several smaller departments will get video cameras to record statements and document evidence after responding to domestic violence cases. Recording statements, as opposed to having victims write them, is believed to improve conviction rates and has been implemented successfully in other jurisdictions, Comal County District Attorney Jennifer Tharp said.More

Austin police look to recruit more women
The Austin Police Department wants to recruit more women on the force. Out of the 1800 plus police officers, only 173 are women. And those who recruit for the department believe by having more women on the force will change the traditional policing culture which is male dominated. APD plans to hold a recruitment day just for women.More

Supreme Court to review laws giving police right to inspect hotel registries without warrant
The Associated Press via Fox Business
The Supreme Court agreed to referee a dispute over police access to hotels' guest information without first getting a search warrant. The justices said they will hear an appeal by the city of Los Angeles of a lower court ruling that struck down an ordinance that requires hotel operators to open their guest registries at the demand of police. The federal appeals court in San Francisco divided 7-4 in ruling that the ordinance violates the privacy rights of the hotels, but not their guests.More

Strong women and handling criticism
By Catherine Iste
Women in traditionally male roles — military, law enforcement, firefighting — have all faced some gender-related hurdles to success. In some cases, it was fighting for the basic right to just be in the role, doing the job. Once in the role, they had to constantly prove why and how it was OK to be there. But now that we have gotten in the door and gotten our colleagues and leaders used to seeing us there, we have another obstacle to overcome. This time, it's with us.More

Do police sketches and composites help identify suspects?
The Ann Arbor News
In cases of serious crime where a suspect is at large, the release of a police sketch or composite can trigger public interest and help identify the person wanted, police say. But witness descriptions, the artist's ability and other factors all come into play when a sketch is drawn. Michigan State Police say they don't keep track of how often a suspect sketch leads directly to an arrest. But it does happen.More