County joins task force

January 14, 2019

MT. VERNON — The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office has joined the Southern Illinois Child Death Task Force.

Sheriff Jeff Bullard and Chief Deputy Blaine Uhls were members of the task force when employed by the Mt. Vernon Police Department and Centralia Police Departments, respectively. Now, members of the Sheriff’s Office detective division will be added to the task force as well.

“As a member of this task force for several years, I am quite pleased to have the Sheriff’s Office accepted into membership,” Bullard stated. “This will enhance our agency’s ability to investigate and prosecute these horrific crimes.”

The Southern Illinois Child Death Task Force was created in 2010 and is comprised of state and local law enforcement investigators, coroners, prosecutors, Illinois Child Advocacy Center, and the Department of Children and Family Service investigators. The task force covers six districts of Illinois State Police and is coordinated by the Illinois Attorney General’s Office. The primary function of the task force is to assist local law enforcement with child death and serious abuse investigations. When a local law enforcement agency has an event involving serious abuse or child death, a DCFS hotline report activates the task force. The task force commander coordinates with local officials to provide resources including manpower and equipment, to assist the investigation.

In addition to sharing resources, the task force provides three continuing education sessions each year for members. The training qualifies them for certifications such as lead homicide investigator which is required for law enforcement death investigations. The training is provided at no cost to the member agency.