The Major Crimes Unit, which was formed in October 2003, encompasses the following investigative squads: Homicide, Cold Case Homicide, Arson and Fatal Accident. The following is a breakdown of each respective investigative squad and its responsibilities within the Major Crimes Unit:
HOMICIDE SQUAD / COLD CASE HOMICIDE SQUAD
The Homicide Squad is responsible for investigating all homicides and suspicious deaths that occur within the County of Bergen. This includes the death of a person while in police custody and police-involved shootings. The Squad is also responsible for the investigation of persons missing under circumstances which appear suspicious. The Squad is also responsible for investigating unsolved homicides that occurred within Bergen County. The investigations are conducted jointly by the Homicide Squad and the police department where the death occurred. When requested by municipal departments, the Squad sometimes assists in attempted murder cases, depending on the severity of injury inflicted and the complexity of the case.
The Cold Case Homicide Squad is responsible for the investigation of all cold case homicides within Bergen County. A murder investigation is deemed a cold case once a year has passed since the murder and no arrest has been made.
The Arson Squad is responsible for investigating and determining the origin and cause of arson and arson-related crimes within the County of Bergen. These investigations include fires involving fatalities or seriously injured individuals, all commercial and mercantile buildings/shopping mall fires when open or closed for business, all fire incidents in schools, daycare centers, houses of worship, colleges or universities, healthcare facilities and federal, county, municipal government buildings, fires in vacant buildings, fire in establishments scheduled to be demolished or sold, suspicious fires, fires which are repeated at the same location or where a series of fires indicates a pattern of arson activity, rapidly spreading fires, large scale fires, an explosion where there is a detection of any incendiary/explosive device, fires in boats, airplanes, and motor vehicles, fires involving vehicles that are three years old or newer and/or involving a high value, to include leased vehicles and garages, attached or detached, where it is substantially damaged by fire.
FATAL ACCIDENT INVESTIGATION SQUAD
The Fatal Accident Investigation Squad is responsible for investigating fatal and serious bodily injury motor vehicle crashes, which involve criminal recklessness within the County of Bergen. These investigations include collisions where death or serious bodily injury occurs and in which driving while intoxicated (known or possible), excessive speed, cell phone use, asleep behind the wheel, two or more moving violations, hit and run, police pursuit, an emergency vehicle, and/or known or potential multiple fatality is a factor in the collision(s). The Squad also assists municipalities within Bergen County in investigations of complex non-criteria motor vehicle collisions.