Thursday, December 17, 2015

December 17, 2001 Sgt. James DeWees – From SWAT to CASA By Eunice Wooten for Rape Crisis Intervention Service

December 17, 2001 Sgt. James DeWees – From SWAT to CASA By Eunice Wooten for Rape Crisis Intervention Service

Sgt. James DeWees – From SWAT to CASA

By Eunice Wooten

December 17, 2001 Rape Crisis Intervention Service of Carroll County

Since 1992, the Carroll County CASA Unit has investigated hundreds, if not thousands, of complaints of sexual crime. A specialized unit comprised of both Maryland State Police officers and eight investigators employed by the Carroll Co. State's Attorney's Office, the unit investigated over 300 reports of sexual crime last year alone.

In January 2001, Sgt. Jim DeWees of the Maryland State Police was assigned to be the new director of the CASA Unit following the retirement of Sgt. Ron Mosco. The story of how he came to CASA is both interesting and offers some surprises.

As a life-long resident of Carroll County, Sgt. Jim is the fifth of six children. A member of the baseball team throughout high school, he was drafted by the Boston Red Socks following graduation. Guidance from his father led him to pursue a career in law enforcement, becoming a police cadet at age 18 and a Maryland State Police trooper by age 21. (After you meet him I'm sure you'll agree this was a good decision for the community and CASA.)

Promoted to Corporal in 1998, Jim has had numerous assignments ranging from road supervisor to criminal investigations. His work as a member of one of the four Maryland   Special Weapon and Tactics Teams (SWAT) took him all over Maryland, leading him to assist in 100 hostage barricades and 200 search warrants. Following a stint in Howard County, Sgt. Jim returned to Carroll County to serve as Road Supervisor before becoming Supervisor of Criminal   Investigations.

In January 2001 he was promoted to Sergeant and took the position of director of the CASA (Child Abuse and Sexual Assault) unit.

Married to Heather Wable of Morgantown, West Virginia since 1998, they have one daughter named McKenzie, and a second child due in April, 2002. The story of their first meeting is a chuckle too good to ignore-­ Jim almost ran over her in the parking lot with his police car at Mt. Saint Mary's college where Heather was attending classes! These days they make their home in Manchester in a house designed by Heather and custom built by Jim.

Sgt. Jim describes the CASA unit as "a specialized unit of very, very dedicated law enforcement investigators that put 11O% effort into their work. The role of CASA is to establish the facts of the case, while advocacy falls into the purview of treatment programs like Rape Crisis.

When asked what is the hardest thing about his job, he quickly answered the long hours. It is not unusual for him to get called out in the middle of the night twice a week, and surveillance, stake-outs, compiling strategy and consultation with prosecutors consume much time. Case assignment is handled personally by Sgt. Jim who may also go on to assist investigators with interviews, search warrants, and resource information. Occasionally the crimes  they  are  called  upon to investigate are  so horrendous  and  complex,  that  two  investigators are assigned.

The good things about his position are the wonderful people he works with and the successful arrest, prosecution and punishment of a sexual predator. His goals for CASA include acquiring cell phones, expanded surveillance equipment, and most importantly, a new location. The ideal CASA office would   be a non-­ intimidating older home in Westminster specially designed to meet their needs to interview child or adult victims. And just as important, bathrooms. (An inside joke...)

In order to enjoy police work Sgt. Jim long ago learned to compartmentalize, a term often used to mean separating one aspect of life from another. Separating professional responsibilities from the private allows him and other professionals to meet and enjoy the obligations of each. Home life for Sgt. Jim is very good indeed. These days he can count on 16 month old little Mackenzie meeting him at the door and following her daddy everywhere.


24 Hour Hotline: 410-857-7322 Serving Carroll County since 1978 Page 3 December 17, 2001 Rape Crisis Intervention Service of Carroll County

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