Tracing scams to Internet crooks based in Europe, dusting for fingerprints at the scene of a burglary, teaching a group of scouts how to investigate a crime scene — it’s all just another day for Ridgefield Detective David Dubord.
The Cub Scouts stand out as a particularly fun day for Dubord and his then-partner, Detective Jorge Romero.
“Jorge and I set up a crime scene in the garage for them,” said Dubord, who was recently named Officer of the Year by the Ridgefield Police Commission.
“Doing stuff like that is fun — or just giving a kid a sticker on the street,” he added, listing off his favorite part of the job
“ … And when you know you’re able to do a case and make an arrest out of it, and you can tell [the victim] ‘yup, an arrest was made.’ It feels good when you get a case, work it, and it’s cleared by arrest — just to give that person a sense of ‘it’s over now.’”
Romero has since returned to the patrol division, leaving Dubord as the sole detective on the evening shift.
“Dave is an extremely dedicated detective who is very deserving of this recognition,” said Police Chief Jeff Kreitz. “He continually goes above and beyond, and has a tremendous amount of pride and passion for the job. I am extremely proud of him.”
When patrol officers encounter crimes that require longer-term investigations, such as a burglary, or cases of identity theft, odds are it will wind up on Dubord’s desk.
“It’s different every day, just like patrol, but it’s slower,” he said in an interview at police headquarters.
He takes on many of the department’s digital crimes, as well as cases of fraud and identity theft. In some cases, he said, thieves in identity theft cases have racked up as much as $90,000 in fraudulent credit card purchases.
“A lot of it is digital,” Dubord told The Press. “Especially the identity thefts, the scams, all of that” is on a computer.
“It’s just an easier way for criminals to do these types of crimes, and it’s hard to catch them,” he explained.
“He spends a tremendous amount of time on his investigations to include relentless follow-up,” said Chief Kreitz.
A native of Patterson, N.Y., Dubord started with the Putnam County Sheriff’s Department while he was in high school as part of the Police Explorers program.
The program is similar to JROTC experience for the armed forces.
“You get a uniform, and you go on the road” with the other officers, Dubord explained. “It was there that I was like ‘wow, I like this, this is really interesting.’”
He joined the program at the suggestion of a friend. Dubord said he was the first member of his family to join law enforcement that he could immediately recall.
“I didn’t grow up wanting to be a police officer, but then when a friend of mine was in that explorer program, he said ‘you should try this, it’s fun’’ he said. “Riding along with the guys … I was nervous, but I had the adrenaline going — especially going to your first call with lights and sirens.”
From there, he attended Dutchess Community College in New York, where he earned a degree in criminal justice. A few stints as a security guard and working as a dispatcher for Putnam County followed.
He got his start as a Ridgefield patrol officer in 2006, after he responded to an ad for the position. In 2014, he moved to the detective division.
“I just wanted something different,” he said, noting that cops in larger departments will sometimes bounce between different divisions — from patrol to a marine unit, for example. “Here it’s a little different, we’re small,” he said. “It came up and I said, I think it’s time for a change … it’s fun, I like it.”
Unlike officers on patrol, his job involves more time behind a desk and longer investigations, tracking down leads and building enough evidence for an arrest warrant.
That can mean anything from tracing the IP address — a sort of digital fingerprint left by a computer user online — of someone suspected of running a fraud scheme, to sending a cell phone seized as evidence out to the FBI’s New Haven office to be hacked under a search warrant.
“Patrol, they may make an arrest because they go to a call, or the crime happened right then and there. Me, someone may come in and say ‘someone used my credit card two months ago,’” Dubord said. “If I get video footage of the person, and I can identify the person, then I’ll put everything in search warrant, and as long as there’s enough probable cause in it, the judge will sign off on it, and then I can find that person and make an arrest.”
Right now, he’s concerned about the possibility of criminals using the dark web — websites hidden from typical Internet users that hide the physical location of their users and owners behind layers of encryption. The anonymous nature of the sites could make tracking down the perpetrators of future crimes that much harder. In some instances, criminals have used the sites to sell personal information needed to commit identity fraud.
“It’s not like the movies. The movies make it look like a crime comes in, they get there, and it’s solved within 24 hours and an arrest is made … I wish we had all the technology that shows on TV have,” he said.
He intends to stay put as a Ridgefield detective.
“I like what I’m doing … we all work together. Even though I got officer of the year, I still feel like other officers helped me out,” he said. “We all help each other out.”