CPD closed 2019 cases at twice U.S. average

Submitted to Dorchester Banner/CPD
The Cambridge Police Department released 2019 statistics showing a closed-case rate more than twice the national average.

CAMBRIDGE — The Cambridge Police Department’s Criminal Investigation Division (CID) in 2019 closed 62.91 percent of its cases, Capt. Justin Todd said on Thursday. The figure represents more than double the national closure rate, approximately 26 percent.

“We’re proud of those numbers,” Capt. Todd said. “That takes a lot of dedication.”

The division’s day-to-day operations are led by Det. Sgt. Chris Flynn and Det. Cpl. Jason Dickerson. Capt. Todd said the CID’s work is only beginning when an arrest is made — the officers then have to complete investigations, double-check interviews, and make sure records are accurate, among other tasks, to ensure that prosecution is successful.

The CID compiled that rate of success in 2019 despite being short one officer, Capt. Todd said.

Recent shootings have been under investigation at the CPD, with one man currently under arrest.
On Feb. 8, in front of Elks Lodge #223 on Pine Street, a man was shot. A disagreement inside the establishment continued on the sidewalk, Capt. Todd said, resulting in the incident.

“Due to some great video surveillance, we were able to make an arrest,” on Feb. 14, Capt. Todd said. “They caught him up around the Bay Bridge.”
The victim has recovered. “He’s out of the hospital, he’s ok,” the captain said.

Willie Lee Lewis III, 32, of 2327 Church Creek Road, has been charged with attempted first-degree murder, attempted second-degree murder, first-degree assault, reckless endangerment, second-degree assault, use of a firearm in a felony/violent crime, loaded handgun on person, affray and disorderly conduct. He is being held without bond.

Another shooting occurred on March 1. After the department received a call for a robbery, officers responded to the municipal parking lot on Academy Street, where they found a man with a gunshot wound in the arm.
There was no blood trail, though, and no video of incident, leaving questions regarding when and how the shooting happened. “We have no suspect in that one,” Capt. Todd said.

Dirt bikes
While the overall crime situation has not been bad, the CPD is now dealing with something new — dirt bikes, sometimes being driven irresponsibly on city streets.
“We’re trying to adapt,” Capt. Todd said. “They have no regard.”
But it isn’t a simple matter to address, because the nimble machines can escape a police cruiser, which operates under restrictive rules. “We have a no-chase policy,” Capt. Todd said, as the department believes a pursuit could pose an even greater danger public safety.

Chief Mark Lewis and Capt. Todd are checking the option of having a city ordinance enacted that would make it easier to seize the bikes. In Baltimore, for instance, which has long faced a similar situation, dirt bikes are not allowed even on private property.

“We have seized a few, but we know as it gets warmer, we’re going to have issues,” Capt. Todd said. He encouraged citizens to continue calling in reports of dangerous operation of the vehicles. He also pointed out that recovery of a seized bike requires proof of ownership and payment of a daily storage fee, points that often result in a person’s abandoning the bike.

“I have never seen a community come together and give support like for K-9 Dani,” Capt. Todd said.
Dani was put to sleep about a month ago, after a health crisis. She was the partner of Pfc. Mark Shayne.

“He’s done a really good job for us,” Capt. Todd said. In fact, Pfc. Shayne was also named Officer of the Year at American Legion Post 91’s recent awards ceremony.

Since then, Crescent Cities Charities, Inc. has donated $10,000 for the purchase and training of a new dog, the Chesapeake K-9 fund has contributed, and Pep-Up raised $2,500 for the cause — so much generosity that the CPD will probably be able to bring in two dogs. “We’ve been really blessed,” Capt. Todd said.

Pfc. Shayne will receive a new K-9 partner, and undergo six weeks of training in Salisbury to form a bond with his new partner. “That camaraderie has to be there,” Capt. Todd said.