DELAWARE COUNTY- It’s hard, time-consuming work, but it’s all worth the effort when child abuse cases are resolved.
Investigator Fred Smith was assigned to investigate child abuse cases in Delaware County by Delaware County Sheriff Jay Blackfox three months ago.
“We were overwhelmed with cases of burglaries, drug cases and others crimes, along with the child abuse cases. Like every law enforcement agency, we were short-handed. I assigned Fred to investigate these cases exclusively,” said Sheriff Blackfox.
Smith is a reserve officer with the Delaware County Sheriff’s department, and was eager to take on the new assignment.
To date, Smith says he has worked approximately 15 cases of juvenile sexual abuse and mistreatment cases. He said about half of these cases have been investigated and closed out. “At this time, I’m still working on six or eight that are still active,” he said.
He donates his time as a reserve officer with the Sheriff’s Department, which provides him with a car and fuel for his investigations. The financing comes from cases through DCCSAN and the Department of Human Services.
According to Smith, there are many alleged cases of abuse that don’t advance any further for several reasons.
“Some of the cases reported now are from incidents happening six or eight years ago. These cases are almost impossible to investigate because the evidence just isn’t there anymore,” he explained.
Smith gives each case his undivided attention, starting with the most recent complaint.
“I start with what is the most recent incident and I work my way back. Some of them are good cases and some just won’t go anywhere,” said Smith. “You have to give every case your best effort to resolve, one way or another.”
Smith said that the cases take a lot of time to investigate - a lot of footwork and a lot of interviews.
“After I’ve done all the paperwork, I take it to the District Attorney’s office and hand it over to them. If they need anything further from me, they let me know,” Smith said.
“Investigator Smith works very hard on these cases and I’m proud of his efforts in bringing them to a close,” Sheriff Blackfox concluded. “He is a reserve officer with the Sheriff’s Department and volunteers his time to these cases.”