The North Regional Major Crimes Task Force (NORTAF) is frequently in the news for its successful investigation of major crimes that occur in the northern suburbs. One of them, the identification and tracking of Benjamin Smith, the offender in the shootings that occurred in Skokie in 1999, earned NORTAF a Chicago Crime Commission Law Enforcement Award for the year 2000.
NORTAF was established in 1997 to serve as a standing task force that would be available to its member agencies for the investigation of major crimes, including homicides and non-parental kidnappings, that occur in their communities. Its mission is to assist member agencies with the investigation of major crimes. NORTAF is dedicated to rapid response and thorough, professional investigations, with the goal of collecting evidence, identifying suspects, filing appropriate charges, arresting, and successfully prosecuting offenders in a court of law. Since NORTAF’s inception, the group has successfully investigated over 40 cases. In addition to Niles, the following towns belong to NORTAF:
Each department provides personnel to serve on the task force on a part-time basis. Through an application process, officers wishing to serve on the task force indicate their interest in specific responsibilities (evidence technician, investigator, intelligence officer, analyst, etc.) for which they feel they are most suited.
Applicants are carefully screened. Officers chosen for assignment to NORTAF receive on-going training relevant to homicide investigations.