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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 118561 Find in a Library
Title: Atlanta Serial Murders
Journal: Policing  Volume:5  Issue:1  Dated:(Spring 1989)  Pages:2-16
Author(s): J D Glover; D C Witham
Date Published: 1989
Page Count: 15
Type: Program/Project Description
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article describes organizational arrangements for administering the investigation of a major criminal case, using the Atlanta serial murders (1979-81) as a case study.
Abstract: After reviewing case progress from the early FBI involvement through the active FBI investigation and the proactive investigative approach, the article discusses the administrative arrangements for the case. The characteristics of a major case are noted to be extraordinary media interest, multiagency jurisdiction, unusual complexity (e.g., multiple victims or subjects), and heavy demands on resources. Of these four characteristics, extraordinary media interest can have the most dramatic impact on the investigation. The media should not be viewed by police as an adversary; this will only increase pressure on the police and undermine public cooperation with the police. In the Atlanta case, press conferences were conducted whenever a body was discovered. Policy was developed on the kinds of information that could and could not be shared with the media. In cases where a number of jurisdictions are involved, agencies must coordinate media relations. Regarding the handling of multi-jurisdiction in the Atlanta case, the FBI, which acted independent of but in liaison with the case task force, assigned liaison responsibility to an experienced special agent. This agent's only responsibilities were to keep all parties informed of all significant developments and to assist in coordinating their efforts. Within the Atlanta division of the FBI, an investigative coordinator and an administrative coordinator were designated. The investigative coordinator supervised the investigation, and the administrative coordinator supervised logistical planning related to the assignment of personnel, equipment, and other resources. Daily, all-hands briefings were held.
Main Term(s): Police organizational structure
Index Term(s): Georgia (USA); Interagency cooperation; Investigative techniques; Serial murders
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