Army hiring criminal investigators to improve case work

WASHINGTON, -- The Army has hired more criminal investigators as the civilian director tries to rectify widespread failures last year following a string of Fort Hood murders.

Army hiring criminal investigators to improve case work

WASHINGTON, -- The Army has hired more criminal investigators as the civilian director tries to rectify widespread failures last year following a string of Fort Hood murders.

Gregory Ford, who assumed the headship of the Army Criminal Investigation Command (or CID) about a month ago told reporters Wednesday that Fort Hood was one of his recent visits. He stated that the Army has received a positive response from those interested in joining CID, and the hiring process for over 90 positions has already begun.

Late last year, CID understaffed, poorly organized and with too few experienced investigators was the result of a review. These findings were made amid increased scrutiny following the death of Vanessa Guillen (a soldier whose remains had been found two months after her death).

In 2020, more than 20 Fort Hood soldiers were killed in homicides or suicides. Guillen's murder and other cases led to an independent review that found that CID investigators lack the ability to "connect the dots" and identify key leads. They were often required to perform administrative tasks and failed training.

An Army decision was made earlier this year to place a civilian in charge CID. Until now, it had been managed by a general. This decision was made in accordance with the recommendations of the review in an effort to reform the command.

Ford stated that he is continuing to work with Army plans for increasing the number of civilian agents, so they would account for about 60% of investigators. Military agents will make up the rest.

He also stated that he had been looking at the policy and the administrative burden placed on our workforce. He directed a review to eliminate duplication and any unnecessary requirements.

Fort Hood in North Carolina, Fort Bragg (North Carolina) and Fort Carson (Colorado) are all part of a pilot program that will see some changes and staffing enhancements. Ford stated that the Army has given agents the opportunity for them to move to the bases.

He stated that the key goal was to have prompt and aggressive investigations, which are conducted "with a feeling of urgency" in critical hours following the reporting of crimes.

Ford said that the level of interest in the job postings has "surpassed everyone's expectations."

Although he did not provide details about the costs of the changes, he said that the Army had been providing the necessary funding to start the transformation. Officials claim that funding will be available over the next five year.

In 1992, the Navy made a similar change in its CID leadership. This was in response to the Tailhook scandal in which Navy and Marine officers sexually assaulted many women in Las Vegas. A sweeping condemnation of Navy's investigation into this matter led to leaders transforming the military-led Naval Investigative Service into a Naval Criminal Investigative Service, and a civilian director was appointed.

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