By Jack Fink

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FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – Fort Worth Police Chief Joel Fitzgerald has ordered a top to bottom review of every investigative unit in the department.

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Police spokesman Sgt. Marc Povero says the Chief did so after a detective in the Crimes Against Children unit mishandled child abuse cases as far back as ten years ago. In addition, Sgt. Povero says the department has established an 11 member task force to investigate cases in the Crimes Against Children unit to make sure they were handled properly.

The task force includes six Crimes Against Children detectives, three special investigations detectives, and two investigators from the Tarrant County District Attorney’s office.

“We’re unsure why these cases were overlooked but that’s something the task force is going to look into. To determine why, the chief is giving specific orders for the commanders over those investigative units to determine why this happened and to ensure it doesn’t happen again,” said Sgt. Povero.

As part of the department-wide review, cases will be audited not only in the Crimes Against Children unit but in the other units: Homicide, Robbery, Domestic Violence, Sex Crimes, Fraud, Narcotics, Gangs, and General Assignments, which handle burglaries and thefts in the five divisions.

A child abuse complaint that recently came into the Crimes Against Children unit was the catalyst for the audit. The detective on the case realized the child or children in the new case were also victims back in 2006 and 2008 — and the same suspect was never arrested or charged. He is now behind bars for those crimes and for the latest case.

Another detective handled the prior cases, and is now reassigned and working a non-investigative job as the department investigates whether he violated department policy.

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Sgt. Povero said the chief ordered all his cases for review, then all of the cases in that department, and finally, those in all investigative units.

“That’s not to say all investigative units are at fault for not investigating. But the chief did want to do a top to bottom review of detectives assignments and those cases to be sure this department’s receiving proper service,” he said.

Again, only one detective’s cases was called into question.

The chief wants all of the audits to be completed by August 31.

The department isn’t identifying the veteran detective at the center of the controversy because he hasn’t been disciplined yet. But until recently, the detective worked in the Crimes Against Children unit 16 years and has worked in the department for 23 years.

Follow Jack on Twitter: @cbs11jack

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