Starting this week, the Union County Homicide Task Force will become the primary agency investigating homicides and suspicious deaths in Elizabeth, the county’s largest city, according to a joint announcement made Tuesday by acting Union County Prosecutor Grace H. Park, Elizabeth Police Director James Cosgrove, and Elizabeth Police Chief Patrick Shannon.
The Elizabeth Police Department had served as the primary agency on city homicides since October 2012. The change was made in order to streamline the fashion in which resources are allocated toward investigating such crimes, and also to ensure that homicide cases are addressed in a uniform manner countywide, Park said.
“We are extremely pleased to be partnering with the Elizabeth Police Department on a protocol shift we believe will result in the immediate enhancement of existing and future homicide investigations,” Park said. “The Homicide Task Force is a source of enormous pride for this office, but it can only operate with maximum effectiveness if it enjoys the participation and support of all our various municipal police departments.”
The Homicide Task Force was established in 2008. Consisting of a team of dedicated assistant prosecutors and detectives from the Union County Prosecutor’s Office and several municipal police departments, it oversees investigations, arrests, and prosecutions connected to homicides occurring countywide. Since January 2009, approximately two-thirds of Union County homicides have been cleared by the task force following successful investigations.