The loss of a member of our community by the homicidal actions of another individual, or groups of individuals is the greatest affront to community safety that we experience as a society. “Murder is unique in that it abolishes the party it injures, so that society has to take the place of the victim and on his behalf demand atonement or grant forgiveness; it is the one crime in which society has a direct interest”. (W.H. Auden “The Guilty Vicarage”) Please click here for information and guidance when dealing with the death of a loved one.
The Region of Durham experiences an average of four homicides a year. The Durham Regional Police Homicide Unit has solved 94% of the reported homicides since Regionalization in 1974. This is an excellent clearance rate, and is a reality because the Durham Regional Police are committed to exhausting all available avenues in our attempts to resolve homicides and collect the requisite evidence for the Crown Attorney to advance a successful prosecution in the Superior Court of Criminal Jurisdiction.
The members of the Durham Regional Police are dedicated professionals, and homicide investigations can literally take a day to several months, or even years to resolve with a criminal charge. Notwithstanding the time that it takes to identify an Offender; the investigative phase can be very lengthy with a case not being resolved in the Courts for an extended period of time after the homicide.
The Durham Regional Police Homicide Unit is staffed by eight Detectives and four Administrative Assistants who are supervised by two Detective Sergeants. Two Detectives are initially assigned to each new Homicide investigation. These highly trained senior investigators are supported by officers trained in criminal investigations from the Divisional CIB Offices and a Major Incident Response Team. It is common to have a Project Team comprised of 12 to 14 members working on a homicide with the detectives effectively managing their investigation through the use of PowerCase, the Project Team (supported by our indispensable Administrative Assistants), a Powercase Indexer and a variety of specially trained investigative Support Service members.
It is the sincere desire of the Durham Regional Police that the comprehensive investigations we complete into the circumstances of an individual’s death provide a fair, impartial and thorough inquiry into the sudden death and details all of the real and circumstantial facts surrounding the death.
The Durham Regional Police Homicide Unit responds to:
• All deaths believed to be caused by homicide,
• All attempted homicides,
• All suspicious deaths,
• All deaths of children under the age of five years; providing investigative supervision to the Divisional CIB Office,
• All incidents of found human remains where the manner of death is believed to be homicide or is undetermined,
• All missing persons where the circumstances indicate a strong possibility of foul play,
• Police involved shootings where the Province of Ontario Special Investigations Unit invokes their right to investigate the Police Use of Force,
• Any other investigation designated by the Chief of Police or his designate.
The Durham Regional Police Homicide Unit also assists other Police Services across Canada and the United States of America with investigative requests relating to Homicide investigations.
Since the inception of the Durham Regional Police in 1974, a select group of Detectives have been chosen to investigate homicides. These officers are chosen for their proven skills, abilities and determination. Detectives in the Homicide Unit are proud of the many successful cases they have investigated and are always mindful of areas where further learning can occur. Homicide Detectives attend yearly seminars, i.e. the Ontario Homicide Investigator’s Association (OHIA) annual Homicide Workshop, and also share their knowledge and experiences with members attending courses at the Durham Regional Police Learning Centre.
The members of the Durham Regional Police Homicide Unit routinely rely upon the resources of other Units, Offices and areas of the Police Service for assistance during the course of a homicide investigation. The Forensic Investigation Unit; the Intelligence Branch, the e-crimes Unit; Canine, Mobile Command, the Public Order Unit, the Major Incident Response Team (MIRT), Divisional CIB Offices, Helicopter Support, the Tactical Support Unit; Polygraph, the Courts Bureau and General Patrol all organizationally contribute to the investigation of a homicide.
Our partners in the investigation of a homicide include the Office of the Chief Coroner, the Centre of Forensic Sciences, the Ministry of Attorney General (Region of Durham Crown’s Office) and the Department of Justice.
The Durham Regional Police and our partners are able to systemically uncover and present compelling evidence such as DNA and physical evidence on homicide files, but without the testimony of everyone who witnesses an event and the incredible support we receive from the community; our homicide cases would not be resolved. Sir Robert Peel’s most memorable principle was, "the police are the public, and the public are the police." The members of the Durham Regional Police Homicide Unit are honoured and privileged to serve the community as homicide detectives and salute the members of our communities who provide statements and evidence when an event occurs. Your efforts do not go unnoticed. You help us; the Crown; the Criminal Justice System; and the community resolve these tragedies by working together.