Berkshire DA creates new violent crime section to county’s law enforcement task force

Crime

PITTSFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) — The Berkshire County District Attorney announced Wednesday that she is adding a violent crime section to the county’s law enforcement task force.

The task force will be made up of eight officers from five local police departments who will jointly investigate sexual assaults, high-risk domestic violence, and human trafficking cases.

Berkshire County District Attorney Andrea Harrington said the section will help support local departments in a complicated and complex criminal investigation that would often otherwise be the responsibility of a patrol officer. Each police department will be provided with specialists experienced in investigating these
types of crimes. The officers assigned to the violent crime section will work in concert with each police
department in Berkshire County municipalities. The Massachusetts State Police Detective Unit assigned
to the Berkshire District Attorney’s Office oversees the operations.

“My office remains dedicated to supporting victims and holding perpetrators of violent crimes
accountable. The Berkshire Law Enforcement Task Force is very successful in disrupting the flow of
harmful drugs into the community, and this expansion builds on that success by providing domestic
violence, sexual assault, and human trafficking investigations the same level of focus and dedication,”
District Attorney Andrea Harrington said. “These crimes can be extremely complex, and we know our smaller, rural towns are frequently constrained in the amount of resources they can dedicate to these investigations. Our goal is to provide additional tools to our entire community to keep people safe.”

Harrington says the prevalence of domestic violence, sexual assault, and human trafficking in Berkshire County is a threat to public safety even more destructive than illegal drug activity. Law enforcement has identified strong intersections between substance use, physical and sexual abuse, and human trafficking as perpetrators force vulnerable people into sex trafficking. According to FBI statistics, in 2017, Stockbridge, Adams, Pittsfield, and North Adams ranked first, third, fifth, and sixth in the highest rate of reported rapes.

The violent crime section held its first meeting in late August. The District Attorney’s Office and the State Police Detective Unit will identify and assign cases for further investigation. Local police departments
can request additional resources at any time.

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