Section Chief: Assistant Prosecutor Nevan Soumilas
Unit Commander: Lieutenant Lance Saunders
Phone: (856) 225-8681
The Major Crimes Unit (MCU) is responsible for investigating and prosecuting a wide variety of criminal offenses against people and property. In general, the unit functions as a back-up detective bureau to all law enforcement agencies operating in Camden County. The unit’s legal staff provides legal supervision on cases, as well as legal advice and review services to outside law enforcement agencies. Due to the complexity of the cases, the legal staff practices vertical prosecution from charging to sentencing.
The unit provides 24-hour, seven-day-a-week investigative response to sudden deaths, non-fatal police shootings, burglary rings, robberies, sexual assault, aggravated assault, arson, missing persons, fraud and human trafficking. The unit investigates and prosecutes bias crimes, career criminals, fugitives and all terrorism related crimes.
In addition, the unit has a newly formed Arson Investigation Team that consists of three full time arson agents and an ATF certified Accelerant Detection K-9. They are responsible for determining origin and cause upon request throughout the county.
DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES
• Works with investigative staff to investigate and prepare cases.
• Provides legal advice to the county’s 37 municipal police departments.
• Search warrant and communications data warrant review.
• Prepares investigative grand jury subpoenas.
• Supervises municipal prosecutors.
• Extradition approval for fugitives.
• Prepares of out-of-state witness petitions.
• AIDS testing motions, human trafficking meetings, instruction at the Police Academy, school safety issues, Sexual Assault Response Team and Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner meetings, providing legal advice and oversight to the Camden County intelligence collective.
• Consults with other law enforcement agencies in multi-jurisdictional cases.
The unit is the primary liaison between local, state and federal agencies to ensure there is a coordinated response for assignments tasked by but not limed to the PA and NJ’s U.S. Attorney’s Office’s Anti-Terrorism Advisory Council, Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Joint Terrorism Task Force, Department of Homeland Security and the NJ Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness.
The unit’s investigator has been granted an FBI Top Secret/SCI Security clearance. The Assistant Prosecutor gives legal advice and prepares applications for search, data and arrest warrants as needed.
The Unit responds to investigative requests made by the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force. The Unit also serves as the County Counter Terrorism Coordinator to OHSP.
Unit members are required to always be on call in support of the unit mission. Personnel assigned to this unit are required to constantly be on the road to conduct proactive and reactive investigations, respond to actual or suspected terrorist situations, and conduct surveillances.
Affiliated with the unit is the SANE (Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner) Coordinator, who is responsible for coordinating approximately 15 SANE nurses within Camden County hospitals. Each nurse is specifically trained to deal with sexual assault victims, both female and male. The SANE Coordinator is available at all times to assist investigators and local police officers. SANE operates at sites in Camden, Voorhees and Stratford.
Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners (SANE) responded to 194 additional victims, the majority of them female, Caucasian, between the ages of 18 and 25 and assaulted by an acquaintance. Nearly 40 percent of these assaults occur in Camden City. The SANE program assists indigent, uninsured victims of sexual assault in obtaining post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP). These medications can prevent the transmission of HIV/AIDS, but must be started as soon as possible after the assault. The medications are costly, and without government subsidizing the expense patients may refuse to follow through with this important medical care. The Camden County Prosecutor’s Office works closely with pharmacies to obtain the medications, then seeks reimbursement from the Victims of Crime Compensation Agency.
A State grant provides funding for the Camden County Regionalized DWI Enforcement/Sobriety Checkpoint Project. A Major Crimes assistant prosecutor reviews and approves all proposed DWI checkpoints submitted by various municipal police departments.
ONGOING TASK FORCES
FBI Violent Crimes Task Force: The designated unit investigator assigned meets daily with the FBI to review bank robbery investigations. The investigator responds to all bank robberies and works with the FBI on each case. At one time most bank robbery cases were prosecuted on the federal level, but post September 11, 2001 the FBI has shifted its focus to homeland security matters. Meanwhile the volume of bank robberies has increased, leading to many cases being investigated and prosecuted by the Major Crimes Unit.
Homeland Security/Counter-Terrorism Unit (HSCTU):
Assistant Prosecutor (A/P): 1 Major Crimes A/P assists on a day-to-day basis.
Investigators: 1 with an FBI Top Secret/SCI security Clearance assigned to the Intelligence Services/Homeland Security Unit.