Gradually Detectives

Crime Scene TapeIt has been nearly five years since my cell phone rang in the middle of the night and I had to respond out to a homicide as an investigator.  Since leaving the both the Detective Bureau and SWAT, I had absolutely reveled in hanging up my on-call status, which had lasted for over 21 years.  Having now returned to DB:  Ringggg!  Back to the salt mines…

I woke two of my burglary dicks and told them that we needed to go in to assist.  This would be their first full-blown murder as new detectives.  No, they were not the primary investigators, just the minors helping out the pros.  Still, their work would be important to the case.

When you move into a new job description, you automatically regress to being the FNG of the unit.  My advice is to take the “abuse” quietly.  Everyone else has been there.  Be patient, take direction without ego, and open your mind to new ways of doing business.  As the new guy, you need to prove that you are a team player.

During this same week, I would send the newbies out on a commercial burglary and then on an arson during the Midnight Watch.  Include the homicide and you have a very busy week, since no matter what happens at night, you still report for your regular “banker’s hours.”

I thought my guys acquitted themselves well working the death.  They completed their assigned tasks and more.  Without complaint, I might add.  As a supervisor, it is important to teach.  Having worked Robbery/Homicide, I hope to pass on some of the things I have learned over the years to these new detectives.

There is an interplay among the homicide detectives, forensic technicians, Medical Examiner’s Office, State Attorney’s Office, media, and police command personnel that can be tricky to navigate without the proper help.  A successful murder investigation, and defending it in court, is a complicated endeavor.  You do not get there on classroom instruction alone.

It will be many years until the new detectives are eligible to graduate beyond Property Crimes, but I think they both have the aptitude.  I had a great ride in DB.  It is my hope that someday they will have similar adventures and experiences behind the crime scene tape.  The times are tough, but very rewarding.


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