Bedford Co. Chief Deputy Now Chairman of Regional Board - WSET.com - ABC13

Bedford Co. Chief Deputy Now Chairman of Regional Board

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Bedford Co., VA - A leader in our local law enforcement community now leads 14 states and two U.S. territories in the effort to share information that could solve crimes.

Major Ricky Gardner of the Bedford County Sheriff's Office is now the chairman of the board of the Regional Organized Crime Information Center, or ROCIC. It's a Nashville based, information sharing network of law enforcement agencies in 14 southern states, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

"Even though it uses federal dollars, it's ran by state and local law enforcement," said Gardner.

There are 106 member agencies here in Virginia including the Bedford County Sheriff's Office, where Major Gardner works and the Franklin County Sheriff's Office. Franklin County lays claim to one of the program's greatest success stories. When two years ago, investigators from here found themselves looking at two different crime scenes in two different states.

ROCIC online networking helped answer questions for the family of Shirley Hodges. The Rocky Mount woman's missing person's report was linked to a body found in Alabama. The suspect, Hodges's boyfriend, was found in Texas, where he'd taken his own life.

"Instead of going the traditional route, we can go through the ROCIC center and we can get information back in one day," said Gardner.

He says that lets them close cases faster.

The program supports agencies from investigation to prosecution. It furnished exhibits in the Wesley Earnest murder trial a few years back, expensive blown-up fingerprint images and charts used to explain things to the jury.

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