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June 26, 2014

White Springs: Harden earns detective badge

Jasper — White Springs Police Officer Lee Harden has a new title and a new gold badge after completing detective training.

“It’s official,” said Police Chief Tracy Rodriquenz at the June 10 meeting of the town council. “He is now going to be recognized as Detective Harden, so I’m going to ask him for his badge back.”

Once Harden turned over his Police Officer badge to Rodriquenz, she immediately pinned a gold detective’s badge onto his uniform shirt. Rodriquenz said since 2003, when she hired on with the White Springs Police Department, Harden is the first certified detective she is aware of who has been employed by the department.

Harden said the class he attended covered a wide scope of topics, including homicides, serial killers, elderly abuse and burglaries.

“It was a massive amount of information,” said Harden.

He said he learned the national average for solving burglaries is less than 12 percent with no property recovery.

“We’re at a better percentage than that right now,” he added.

As crimes go up, he said, the percentages don’t go up much. Violent crimes are sitting at about a 24 percent solve rate. Harden said if law enforcement is notified within 45 minutes to one hour of a crime, the solve rate goes up to about 80 percent, which means having someone at the scene, such as a detective, who can take charge, call in canines and make other law enforcement decisions.

Another topic Harden said he learned more about was elderly and sexual abuse. He said those types of crimes are more difficult to solve because 95 percent of them are not reported, due mainly to embarrassment on the victim’s part.

Harden said his training is ongoing as he reviews all the information he received from the course, which was taught by two of the detectives who nabbed Aileen Wuornos, a female prostitute turned serial killer who shot and killed seven men in Florida in 1989-90.

“They were very knowledgable,” said Harden of the detectives. “You couldn’t ask for a better class. I’ve been to several different classes in my career and this is probably one of the best I’ve ever been to.”

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