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Morris, Will-Grundy task force agree on liability, cost issues

MORRIS – Some clarification changes had to be made to the agreement between the city of Morris and the Will-Grundy Major Crimes Task Force.

“It clarifies some liability issues and costs associated with each agency,” Morris Police Chief Brent Dite said Wednesday.

The Morris City Council approved the intergovernmental agreement during its regular council meeting Monday.

The Will-Grundy Major Crimes Task Force is made up of more than 30 agencies in the two counties.

“[The task force] properly investigates any major crime that occurs where an agency doesn’t have the man power, skills or resources to properly investigate a crime,” Dite said.

He told the council Monday four of Morris’s officers are members of the task force: Chief Deputy John Severson, Sgt. Chad Skelton, Sgt. Scott Henderson and Detective Eric Werden. Severson is a Division Commander for the task force.

All members of the task force bring different skills, such as evidence collection backgrounds, expertise in interrogation and technological data.

Officers that are members of the force are called out when the task force is needed for specific crimes, Dite said.

Although Morris has not had to utilize the task force for crime-solving purposes yet, it has taken advantage of the training that is offered through the task force, Dite said.

The task force was established about five years ago.

It’s mission is to “promote area-wide public safety and enhance the ability of all law enforcement agencies in Will and Grundy counties to solve major crimes through resource sharing, partnership building and joint, cooperative, consistent training and application of investigative and enforcement methodology,” according to the bylaws.

The crimes considered to be major enough for the task force are homicide or attempted homicide; kidnapping; serial arson, rape or sexual assault; police-involved shooting or deadly force incidents; in-custody death investigations and other exceptionally heinous offenses.

In addition, cold cases can be investigated by the task force if the cases are approved by the task force’s executive board.

Other Grundy County agencies that are a part of the task force include the Grundy County Sheriff’s Office, the Grundy County State’s Attorney’s Office, Coal City police and Minooka police.

When the task force was first created each agency paid a $1,000 start-up fee, Dite said. Since its creation, the agencies only pay fees when the board of directors decides the task force is in need of equipment or other needs.

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