Created in 1993 as the "Special Crimes Unit," the St. Joseph County Metro Homicide Unit (CMHU) was reorganized under Prosecutor Michael Dvorak in January 2003. The renaming of the unit reflects the focus being returned to the investigation of homicides, suspicious deaths, and injuries so serious that the victim may die as a result. The name change also reflects the national movement among law enforcement agencies to designate "Special Victims Units" as those which investigate crimes of sexual assault.
CMHU is led by a Commander, who is a retired police officer and an employee of the Prosecutor's Office. The CMHU also includes: two Assistant Commanders; four Investigators; and four Crime Scene Technicians, who are assigned to the unit by their respective police agencies: the South Bend Police Department, the Mishawaka Police Department, and the St. Joseph County Police Department. An additional Investigator, who reviews "cold cases," is employed by the Prosecutor's Office, and is assigned to work toward bringing conclusion of older cases which remain unsolved.
The CMHU is equipped with a specially marked van containing equipment for on-scene investigation and evidence collection, an in-house laboratory with testing equipment, and secure evidence storage areas. CMHU offices also house interview rooms equipped with digital video and audio recording equipment, and a garage in which vehicles that may contain evidence may be securely stored.
Anyone with information regarding a homicide or suspicious death may contact CMHU at 574-235-5009 or CrimeStoppers of South Bend at 574-288-7867 or 800-342-7867.