BSORT & MARINE UNIT BSORT The Sheriff’s Office Dive Team also functions as part of a countywide special operations and rescue team. BSORT (Blount Special Operations Response Team) is comprised of members from the Sheriff’s Office, Alcoa Fire Department, AMR, Blount County Rescue Squad, Maryville Police Department, and citizen volunteers. The unit specializes in search and rescue missions on both land and water. In 2017, BSORT responded to 22 land and water searches. BSORT trains monthly. They are a well-trained and equipped team, and they are ready to respond when needed in Blount County and East Tennessee. In addition, beginning in 2017, BSORT formed a partnership with Rockford-based RAM (Remote Area Medical) to begin sharing resources and training for land and water rescue operations. RAM provides free medical, dental and vision services to people in need by way of mobile medical clinics. RAM provides these services utilizing medical, dental and other professionals who volunteer their services. RAM provides these clinics around the country and the world. For the past several years, the Gary Lindsey Memorial Fishing Tournament has generated thousands of dollars which the founders, Ed and Janet Lindsey, have utilized to purchase much needed dive equipment for BSORT. The tournament is held annually in memory of Gary Lindsey, an avid hunter and fisherman who drowned on Tellico Lake in April 2009 while he was scouting for a fishing tournament. The Sheriff’s Office BSORT responded and was part of the recovery effort. Marine Unit 16 The Marine Unit patrols the county’s waterways during the late spring, summer, and early fall. The Marine Patrol deputies assist stranded boaters and inspect private boats to ensure compliance with Tennessee state laws. In 2017, the Marine Unit conducted 29 patrols, two demonstrations, and participated in two community special events. The teams also acts as a support unit for divers who are assigned to BSORT, assisting with water rescue and recovery operations. Remote Area Medical Founder Stan Brock talks with members of BSORT during a training session in August 2017. RAM and BSORT joined forces in 2017 to share training and resources.
INVESTIGATIVE OPERATIONS Investigative Operations includes Criminal Investigations and Narcotics, which is also known as the Fifth Judicial Drug Task Force. These units operate jointly. Investigations is responsible for investigating major crimes, including drugs, homicides, sex crimes, missing persons, domestic violence, robbery, burglary, online crimes, and arson. In 2017, Investigations worked 1,607 cases. Investigations continues to see a steady increase in cases each year. The unit also investigates Internet crimes such as child sexual exploitation and identity theft. Investigations also continues to work with ICAC (Internet Crimes Against Children) to conduct investigations pertaining to the protection of America’s children on the Internet. The Sheriff’s Office also handles all sex offender registration in Blount County. At the end of 2017, there were 240 sex offenders residing in Blount County. A list of those registered on the sex offender registry is available on the Sex Offender Registry link on the Sheriff’s Office website at bcso.com. Crime scene investigators are responsible for the recovery of investigations of crime scenes. CSIs are important to any investigation. The tangible items of evidence and the descriptive information derived from crime scenes makes a difference between the success and failure when the case is brought to trial. The physical evidence plays a critical role in the overall investigation and resolution of a suspected criminal act. All crime scenes are unique, and CSIs use a step-by-step procedure to approach every type of situation. CSIs locate, recover, secure, and document evidence that will be examined by investigators and/or experts in a crime lab. CSIs also maintain AFIS (Automated Fingerprint Identification System), which tracks fingerprints to identify latent prints found at crime scenes. Two of the CSIs are certified through the National Forensics Academy offerered through University of Tennessee, an intensive 10 week training course designed to help law enforcement agencies with evidence identification, collection, and preservation. The Sheriff’s Office has one full-time polygraph examiner who is certified through the American Polygraph Association and Tennessee Polygraph Association. In 2017, the polygraph examiner conducted 80 polygraph investigations. 17