TWIN FALLS, Idaho (KMVT/KSVT) - There is a Special Investigation Unit out in the Twin Falls area, attempting to get crime off the streets and keeping neighborhoods safe. The team has been working for a year now and has seen some results.
The team comprises of officers from the Twin Falls Police Department and the Twin Falls County Sheriff's Office.
"We have five city officers and two county officers," said Sgt. Kevin Loosli, with the police department. "Really, our main focus is chasing after violent offenders, repeat offenders, gangs and drugs."
He said the purpose of the unit is to find criminals that don't live in the boundaries of the city of Twin Falls or county jurisdiction.
"They may come here, commit crimes and then go back outside of the city or vice versa," he said.
He said their goal is to try to transcend the government lines to be be able to chase their criminal elements inside of the community.
Loosli said the team been working together since July 2017. Since then, the unit has been part of many investigations with other agencies as well.
"The team was able to make about 241 arrests. Out of those arrests, 215 are felony charges and 171 are misdemeanor charges," Loosli said.
Along with the arrests, he said they recovered 3.8 pounds of methamphetamine, three-quarters of an ounce of heroin, 66 pounds of marijuana, 10 grams of cocaine and almost 50 firearms. For the unit itself, in the month of July, they made 29 arrests with 33 felony charges and 22 misdemeanor charges, recovering about 13 firearms.
Loosli said the unit handles more long-term investigations.
"A majority of our officers and patrol officers, they respond to radio calls, whatever the citizens call in", he said. "Those can be reckless drivers, barking dogs, homicides."
However, the special investigation unit does not respond to radio calls.
"We're out there hunting and investigating those criminal elements out there that might be engaged in violent acts that are continuing to engage in criminal activity," he said.
Loosli said the team works closely with many agencies, such as Idaho State Police and federal agencies, too.
"Our US postal inspectors, our federal agency was able to intercept a package in the mail of two pounds of methamphetamine. So they reached out to us down here, letting us know that there was an address in Twin that needed to be delivered to," Loosli explained. "Our U.S. postal inspector actually delivered the 2 pounds of meth to the address and as soon as they accepted the package, our team along with other federal agencies was able to execute a search warrant on that residence to apprehend the suspect in it, collect the evidence and then collect other evidence in the house."
So what constitutes the work of the special investigations unit? Loosli said it depends.
"One of them off the top of my head, if they come into a house and they realize there’s drugs involved and they need a search warrant, they don’t have the man power to dedicate to secure that household at the same time," he explained. "So our team can come in, help keep the house secured and at the same time get a search warrant written."
He said the goal is to do these investigations as quickly and swiftly as possible.
"It’s just a team that’s dedicated to focusing on the criminal element within the community, targeting them, trying to get them off the street, just to make our community safer," he said.