Huntsville Police rely on federal partnerships to solve crimes more quickly, plans for future lab in the city

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - Authorities arrested 22-year-old Aziz Sayyed on June 15 and charged him with 2nd degree soliciting/providing support for an act of terrorism. The details surrounding the arrest created shock, confusion and fear across our region.

While the case is moving through the courts, you might wonder how prepared our city is to handle serious threats like terrorism. Huntsville police officers keep their eyes on anyone or anything that threatens our communities.

"We work with the FBI a lot of times and it can be theft cases, theft rings, anything where crimes are being committed back and forth across state lines," Lt. Stacy Bates said. "We're going to have a role in that as well.

The department assigns officers to several federal agencies: the FBI Cyber Crimes division, the Joint Terrorism Task Force and the Gulf Coast Regional Task Force.

"They work this entire region," Lt. Bates added.

Lt. Bates said these assignments improve communication among agencies.

"It saves time at the end of the day," Lt. Bates explained. "They're able to share information quicker, information is more accurate when you can go person to persons."

Partnerships aren't new for the department, it began building them years ago.

"We have agents that we can call up on the phone, we can turn a case directly over to them, and it's already in the federal system," Lt. Bates explained.

But, fighting crime is an ever-changing and ever-growing process. So, HPD is working to set up a lab here in the Rocket City with the goal of wrapping up cases quicker.

"To help investigate more cyber crimes and forensics, get our forensics stuff back quicker, you know," Lt. Bates said of plans for a possible lab. "Be able to work with shell casings, different things involving guns here locally as opposed to waiting months and months to try to get results back."