In my retirement as in my cruiser I am a regular guy who happened to be in extraordinary circumstances by reason of my chosen profession. I have been part of a team of criminal justice professionals in Forensics, Special Response Team and patrol within the military and civilian services. I had stopped a suicide, watched as a brother officer died in front of me from a shootout, saved a man from his burning car and provided countless hours analyzing evidence like many in law enforcement do everyday.

I can offer you only my limited experience of my training, experience and education that resulted in over 10000 calls for assistance. there are many things the colleges and universities won't teach you that I and every other veteran officer knows. Some of those things are common to many other professions as well. There are things I can't talk about please understand that.

My Proof:

Thank you all for great questions i hope i have been some help. it is a new day and time for sleep and maybe some debriefing in CISM.

Comments: 157 • Responses: 62  • Date: 

javi40415 karma

Finally, a non-boring AMA today.

Thank you for doing this.

Question: How much is technology involved in the investigation of a crime? The reason I ask is you see so many high tech toys on shows like CSI etc. What's the reality and what are the really cool toys you have at your disposal?

LifeAfterCSIdeath25 karma

thank for the question, i think the best answer is that technology in general for any profession is all relative to the times in which it is used and the budget for it. In crimescene documentation, retrieval and analysis there is a lot of technology both hi and low. the importance is in knowing how math and science apply to telling the story. the high tech toys exist but few departments can afford them and most shows are unrealistic in time and expense.

i think the coolest toy was the foot print retriever for carpets and flooring using static electricity. we use to shock each other with it for jokes.

paperanch0r13 karma

What is the most strange or shocking call you've had to take and provide assistance at?

LifeAfterCSIdeath29 karma

interesting question kind of like asking an actor what role did you find most intriguing role. I should have made cliff notes before doing this. after doing a drug raid we seized and reviewed a video tape of a pile of cocaine on a table and a young boy of 5 years old looking at it closely when a hand held his head to the table in the powder puffing out as he struggled to breathe and then the video cut to his staggering. that was shocking even more so when the parents got him back from child services only 6 months later.

PounderMcNasty9 karma

What's the best way to get brain out of a carpet?

LifeAfterCSIdeath27 karma

Brain as an organ isn't so much the problem but the blood is. The brain is like cauliflower kinda. i saw brains blowout in a car from the crash that squished the head between the car door and the car frame when it broadsided a tree. brain spattered all inside the car. i don't remember much blood really. hi impact tends to vaporize or mist the fluid (blood). is that shagadelic enough for you?

Llwelyn9 karma

Imagine you'd have the ability to travel back in time to a case you had. Which one would it be and whould you change something knowing what has happend then? Thanks for this!

LifeAfterCSIdeath28 karma

on a more positive note, as a rookie I removed the streering wheel from a stolen car to be further processed in the lab. the owner got his car back but couldnt use it. i was kinda too eager to do the best job possible .

LifeAfterCSIdeath19 karma

my favorite star trek episode were time travel ones. my first impulse is to not tell you the truth because it hurts to much. I am pretty selfish and I would probably change the death of my fellow officer and the surviving of his killer. It was a pivotal moment in my career. I thought he was going to live and the suspect had a 9mm to the head. I could have taken the officers gun and finished the suspect, or could have gotten there faster. I didn't that is all that can be said.

Ponchorello76 karma

Has anything funny ever happened at a crime scene? I know it's a very morbid setting, but I have a dark sense of humor.

LifeAfterCSIdeath27 karma

yes, there is gallow humor , but the only time I could not stop chuckling and neither could the emt's was when it was a scene out of steve martins movie "parenthood" . we came upon a single car accident on a curve in the road and the mv had plowed into a tree. the driver was almost catatonic and the passenger was hysterical. I arrived and approached as an emt was walking away from the accident laughing to himself. I had taken photos of the accident especially noting a large clump of the passengers blonde hair under the steering wheel column and the driver being tended to with a groin injury. I may be sophmoric but i had to walk away and compose myself.

LifeAfterCSIdeath25 karma

while at a house breakin the female homeowner propositioned me and i suddenly got a page to go to a motorvehicle accident.

I was fingerprinting an arrestee and suddenly got called to a motorvehicle accident and found i forgot my firearm at the the station lockbox,

i put a dead racoon on my LTs cruiser

I went to a disturbance call at a local bar to assist the local cops and when I came out and started my car my lights, radio and siren were screaming loud.

while at a police station getting evidence i had put my camera on a desk and used the restroom . a couple of days later when the film was developed some questionable anatomy pictures were taken by and unk person.

if your in a police station and there are more than one calender on the wall within eyeshot of eachother odds are there is a bullet hole behind one of them.

FakeSoap6 karma

I hope this isn't too late, but did you develop an immunity to all the blood and gore you had to see? Does it no longer make you nauseous?

LifeAfterCSIdeath17 karma

VERY GOOD QUESTION. everyone is different in how they deal with the worst humanity has to offer. for me I was blinded to the horror of unthinkable crimes and cruelty by the science of the craft of crime scene investigation. I honestly think I was comfortably numb as pink floyd would say for the first ten years. I was courteous to the victims suffering when required I didn't even know most of them and would probably never see them again.

there came a time when my fellow officer died in front of me, I was called to my brother in laws suicide and later a slew of crimes where no longer something I could detach mentally and focus soley on the science as is required. it was like a switch was thrown after years of repressing the human condition the memories flooded seemingly every waking and sleeping moment filled with the emotion of compassion for the victims and anger for the perpetrators.

enough serious stuff. there was this one time i got nauseous after doing the job for 6 years I had a ride along with me and I went to a home fire with fatality. taking pictures of the decedents showed they were not so much burned but baked. their fingers were like fat split hot dogs and i finished my job and got back to the cruiser and my ride along was wicked excited and I was pale and slow. I didn't barbecue for two months after that and the ride alone hasn't let me forget it.

tschuff_tschuff6 karma

In TV series it looks very easy to fake evidence/traces at a crime scene. What about reality? Did you ever faced a crime scene where the evidence has been faked so the investigations pointed to a wrong person?

LifeAfterCSIdeath8 karma

NO. after doing the job for a while your capacity for integrity is ever more important. you may develop a sixth sense for things out of place but your job is to collect what you find and let the chips fall where they may. I have had some officers say (pleading) we really need to match this guy/girl to the crime. having independent csi from another department lends credibility to an investigation. it is ultimately up to a judge or jury to determine if there was tampering. TV WANTS DRAMA. DRAMA SELLS ADVERTISING.

BlazeBro4206 karma

How Do I Use A Toilet Without Getting Fully Nude

LifeAfterCSIdeath13 karma

Don't get so drunk that you have to pray to the porcelain god. you always end up spewing on some clothing.

JohnSpivey4 karma

Who was your favorite character on The Wire and do you consider yourself to be more like McNulty or Bunk?

LifeAfterCSIdeath9 karma

Who? Ask me about the big bang theory.


What character on the Big Bang Theory do you most relate to?

LifeAfterCSIdeath1 karma


disturbed2864 karma

Obviously shows like CSI/NCIS/etc are highly fictionalized and make your work out to be something that it isn't.

But what do these shows get right? What do they depict that's close to what you actually do?

LifeAfterCSIdeath9 karma

they get right that procedures and practices by the many team members involved in a criminal investigation. they just distill it down to 5 characters and 42 minutes. they get that the rules police follow cannot cover every possible circumstance an officer will face and the required outcome. the diversity of human interaction is an incalculable variable for absolute right or wrong in every similar case

Shoes too.. beautiful shoes and fast cars.

rhapdimp4 karma


LifeAfterCSIdeath7 karma

the answer is situational to the crime. we are trained to take all safe guards we can. for instance in a minor broken window or graffiti call wearing booties to cover your shoes tread is a waste of inventory. but there is also interviewing victims you can contaminate their memory if you don't phrase the questions appropriately . to answer your question, NO , not on my record. all you need to do is screw up once and have a defense attorney find out and then your screwed in every case thereafter. it is unforgiving.

hayleymowayley4 karma

Do you think that with the knowledge you have from your job, you could commit a murder and cover it up successfully?

LifeAfterCSIdeath8 karma

My wife has reminded me many times over our 32 years together never say anything you don't want anyone to know. btw the wife knows i can't keep simple directions COMMITTED to memory. I am actually not smart enough. you would have to be a great chess player even then most murders are personal by motive making it easier to catch.

razer7003 karma

I've always wanted to be a crime scene investigator, I kinda say to myself "what if I was one, how would my life be?". Interesting stuff, and I love crime documentaries etc.

  1. Have you ever watched Breaking Bad? What is your take on the way the crimes were portrayed?

  2. What was the most interesting crime scene you came across, or your favorite one to investigate?

  3. What were the weirdest/most confusing/out-of-place things that you came across in a crime scene?

Thank you for this AMA, sorry for all the questions, wanted to ask more but didn't want to be rude

LifeAfterCSIdeath12 karma

watched enough of breaking bad, weeds, and other apologetic criminal excuse propaganda to find them to glorify the train wrecks that they are. the concept that sometimes people are put in no win situations that lead them to violate the law is simply the entertainment industry's "normalization" of abhorrent behavior that is self destructive.

two most interesting were one a pickup truck front end absolutely demolished and wrapped around a tree like a can opener was taken to it and the driver and passenger upon my arrival were drunk as heck sitting against the next tree over. when compared to a different car accident where a car had hit a tree head on with about 15 inches deep curved dent and the womans neck snapped. left me thinking how some people survive and and die seems random sometimes even though i know it is science.

wierdest was a cop wanted me to take a urine sample from a urinal at a break and entering case because he was absolutely sure it was from the suspect. I retrieved it , packaged it and put it in the fridge. I knew they would never pay for a dna test with no suspect and a minor crime. but that was the job.

blab703 karma

Is there really semen everywhere?

LifeAfterCSIdeath4 karma

ask Jay and Silent BOB

BobOlson1 karma

How many times have you lied under oath?

LifeAfterCSIdeath3 karma

Don't ever lie. Take the fifth

199Eight1 karma

How many crimescenes have you been through? And which of those were the most terrible that gave you sleepless nights? Which of those were the easiest to solve? Have you also been shot?

Sorry for the many questions, I just really like knowing what you people of the law feel about all the things you've been through.

LifeAfterCSIdeath1 karma

about 10000 plus most are mundane though. you may have notice this is a sleepless night for me.

child murder with a clever throught the chest laterally. two child victims.

child forced to do coke

officer shot killed

I have not been shot but have been shot at and apprehended three persons. in a very weird twist of fate it happened exactly one year from my fellow officer dying.

the easiest to solve? usually I don't hear about it. I collect evidence make a an analysis and report and let the detectives and DA do their thing. if I do my job well enough i don't go to court enough to find out the disposition.

bobeya1 karma

So on average how many cases would you review in a month? And do you seem to notice a spike in crimes within certain seasons? Or is it just random throughout the year?

LifeAfterCSIdeath2 karma

Summer thanksgiving to new years and full moons are busiest

TheAlphaChicken1 karma

What kind of education was required for your job? This is kind of exactly what I'm wanting to do with my life and I have no idea where to start.

LifeAfterCSIdeath1 karma

Ask yourself if you want or really know what the job is or want the fame tv has given it. Join the international association of identification. Get at least a bachelors degree. Network. Prove yourself. GOOD LUCK.

currentchris1 karma


LifeAfterCSIdeath4 karma

I watch ncis but that is kind of because I was in the navy.

A county of approximately 200 thousand .

the budget issues were always coming up. sometimes it was the collective bargaining agreements, the supplies inventory or training funds. our dept never skimped on training because to little and it is a liability not only in the court room but the insurance carriers.

I think all that tech stuff / lab work can be expensive. Is it ever the case that a small town PD / CSI might have more of a budget than a larger city because of lower crime stats? NOt in my experience. the state and federal agencies usually have the better equipment because funding is most efficient when it is regionalized. A small town can have the best equipment but poor experience to testify to.

Did your departments have the latest and greatest equipment? NO.

Anything your dept was coveting and couldn't afford? YES a color photo developer. we had to farm it out. which actually wasn't legit but you do what you can.

Were there any crimes that were ideal for using more modern testing (DNA or anything else) for an old (unsolved or supposedly solved) case? At my level I collected DNA and sent it to the state or FBI. seldom did I get to know the whole picture of the investigation. I would suppose rape cases would be best aided.

MaFi0s01 karma

Is it true planting false evidence is much more inferior to getting rid of evidence? (according to crime channel)

LifeAfterCSIdeath2 karma

you have actually hit upon the theme of exculpatory evidence which can lead to a reasonable doubt in a jury's deliberations. false evidence can convict but it can also give doubt to a suspect being responsible for a crime. I have gone to one murder scene where i had taken fully comprehensive photos and the investigator said I had taken TOO MANY photos to clearly describe the actions of the suspect. you can never take too many photos. besides you never should frame a guilty man.

court_killed_kurtney1 karma

What are the absolute minimum requirements for a death to be ruled a suicide?

"Has alcohol ever touched his lips? You say he was sad, once. Well, that settles it, then. Case closed. He definitely tied himself up, shot himself in the back of the head and buried himself in the woods. My work here is done ..."

LifeAfterCSIdeath2 karma

there have been some rulings that seriously got me scratching my head. but hey I just documented them.

esdanol1 karma

How accurate/scientific is forensic evidence? CSI has us believe that it is infallible but biometrics is rather variable. Everybody says finger prints are unique but can you actually catch a criminal using them and get a solid conviction?

LifeAfterCSIdeath1 karma

Science itself is a never ending discovery and sometimes those discoveries change long accepted beliefs. refer to the "daubert case" for the fingerprint question. i have probably taken thousands and thousands of finger prints and that is before computer scans. so there is a lot of hand holding. finger prints are unique to every person but the catagorization of the prints has expanded to the actual pours evident in the ridge detail. in the future overall biometrics with be the future of ID through complex formulas and logrithims used by computers to id people from images.

after seeing so many fingerprints you can start to see familiar shapes in them. in the center of my finger i have the letter "S". I use to collect letters of the alphabet. a coworker found a thirteen before.

in the end the accuracy is only as good as the scientific method it is based on. And then you have to get a jury to understand it. which in the OJ case it was an EPIC FAIL.

esdanol1 karma

What are your thoughts on the software that matches fingerprints and other biometrics? Im an Image Scientist and changing the geometry of the print would pose a huge obstacle to matching prints. I know facial recognition is on the horizon but isnt very accurate yet. Did you ever use facial recognition software and was it effective?

LifeAfterCSIdeath1 karma

my department couldn't afford facial recognition systems. as for the geometry of the print unless the protocols have changed in IAFIS the intersecting ridges would still have the same relative positions for the software to generate sufficient candidates for comparision. biometrics is further ahead than the public knows. look at the IAI website.

BetweenTheCheeks1 karma

How did you get into this career and what was your career path? I'm a student atm and I am seriously considering this as a career, do you have any advice for me?

LifeAfterCSIdeath2 karma

I will tell you what I told my son, take psychology because no matter what job you get you have to deal with people who sometimes mess with your head.

Feel ok to be idealistic there is so much hope that goes with it but be grounded by the reasonable principles of beauty, strength and wisdom.

make a choice if you need to stay in a home area or moved to get the job. try to make every choice to contribute positively to the goal of getting your desired job but don't loose yourself in the process. from time to time remember your idealistic aspiration, values and humor.

good luck

LifeAfterCSIdeath1 karma

career path. school, AS, security job, loss prevention (shoplifter catcher), PTdeputy, dispatcher, fulltime deputy , navy police, SRT, csi.

Sloppy_Twat1 karma

How many times did you report fellow officers for vioations peoples rights?

LifeAfterCSIdeath1 karma

your usename is a violation of womens rights, should i report you? that being said, the axiom of "you can't cover your partners back if you don't cover yours first" seems right. which people are you talking about?? the criminal who pushed an old lady down the escalator and took her purse or the victim who was assisted by the police officer and I wrote up a commendation report for his exemplary behavior?

Sloppy_Twat0 karma

I haven't had many interactions with cops but 50% of them had been bad. From a cop being unprofessional when I got a seat belt ticket to a cop telling me he was going to take(steal) my work trailer home after it was stolen and left in a empty parking lot.

This has become an epidemic in the US. If you would like some video evidence of "good cops" watching bad cops do illegal things to citizens then please head over to /r/bad_cop_no_donut.

LifeAfterCSIdeath1 karma

I am sorry you feel that way. Please contact our customer service representatives at your local city hall, town hall or county seat. in part they are the ones that make policy that police follow. in the case of police brutality as perceived by some they should read the policy and procedures manuals of police operations before criticizing and officer. if you still disagree with the officers conduct suggest to the politicians other productive ways to have police protect the citizens and themselves from certain incidents that may arise.

I agree one hundred percent with civilian videos of police behavior as long as it is the whole situation not just one snippet of video . that is just poor journalism.

mattywoz1 karma

I'm incredibly happy I found this thread. I hope I'm not too late!

I'm a criminal justice major in the investigative services concentration and my dream is to become a crime scene investigator.

What steps did you need to take before you got to the position you had? Did you start in local policing? Do you have any advice for someone trying to follow in your footsteps?

LifeAfterCSIdeath2 karma

Advice? Yes have bigger dreams for yourself. We are glorified trash collectors that give meaning the stuff criminals leave behind.
You are off to a good start. A BA is needed these days. I got by with an AS. Learn the hiring process for the are you are in. I started as a partimer then in dispatch. Twenty year ago they didnt have csi courses at colleges and most people didnt know what i did. Good luck in finding happiness.

adaml111 karma

I have a few questions for you kind sir,

1) How much pressure was there from your superiors for high conviction rates and fast convictions? (How much evidence was enough evidence)

2) In your time in this area of the government, which of the following did you witness occurring (more than one can apply):

  • Corruption from higher-ups
  • Corruption from Co-workers
  • Less Corruption than when you began working
  • More Corruption than when you began working
  • Crimes becoming more gruesome
  • Crimes becoming less gruesome
  • More faith in humanity
  • Less faith in humanity

LifeAfterCSIdeath2 karma

some of these questions are above my paygrade, but i will do my best.
1 none, evidence is what it is. it is up to the DA to do what he/she can. 2 less corruption than when i began working but more charges of corruption because it became more unacceptable in the ranks in the last decade or so.

2crimes more gruesome some people think they live in the OLD country of origin.

personally, less faith in humanity and GOD but that is improving with time.

Cam_av1 karma

What do you think about crime shows and how do you think they "perform" the world you lived in? Do you watch any of them?if so, which one is your favorite? Have you ever witnessed some situation in which you discovered a colleague of yours was dirty? If so, how did you react? Please forgime me if I make any mistakes, but I'm from Argentina, so I actually speak Spanish... Thanks for reading!

LifeAfterCSIdeath1 karma

dirty? yes, I was shocked and couldn't initially believe it. public service is a public trust i was taught. temptation is always available to those in the business for the wrong reason. people often offer gifts to police but it is bad practice to accept them.

I don't like crime shows in general but my wife does so . I did how ever love "columbo" as a kid.

noodle-face1 karma

I have no desire to do what you do as I went with a different career choice, but let me first thank you for being a service for such a long time. You say you're a glorified trash collector, but I think it's a necessary and thankless job.

That said, both my brother and I are fascinated by crime scene photos - even dead bodies. Sometimes we would spend hours looking at them, wondering about the people that committed these acts and not being phased at all by it. Do you think someone who looks at these photographs and feels no emotional response is a monster? I know for your work it's easy, but for people not in the field I'd imagine most would be disgusted.

LifeAfterCSIdeath2 karma

i am not a psychologist. A monster? NO As with any behavior you must ask yourself from time to time "why do you do it?". "how does it affect my life and the goals for my life?" "is it selfish or selfless?". My suggestion would be to wonder about the lives that could have been lived and touched by the decendent. the children they may have or the legacy they may leave. All denied because of their death.

Take your fascination and discover how you can contribute positively to society within lawful means. that being said. you may feel there is no emotional response but believe me your mind keeps track and emotion is there underneath even if you don't recognize it.

noodle-face1 karma

Good response and much appreciated.

I wonder, is there volunteer work I can do in such a field?

LifeAfterCSIdeath1 karma

depends on your community.

sorobert1 karma

How do you pass a field sobriety test if you're sober?

LifeAfterCSIdeath1 karma


tealgreen1 karma

How easy is it for someone like you who knows the system so well to commit a serious crime and get away with it? Please comment on the different types of crime and how easy it would be to cover up give your knowledge of what is done in the investigation. No need to explain how you would cover your tracks, just tell us if we have reason to be afraid.

LifeAfterCSIdeath1 karma

usually coverups are what get people in more trouble than the actual offense. you would have to get so many people to agree to cover up that it is implausible. I mean in collective bargaining agreements withing the police department you can't get two people to agree on anything sometimes.

Knowing the system does nothing but reduce the fear of what is gonna happen next. it is not so much knowing the system but the people in the system and having a reputation for integrity. I would suggest if your not commited to serving others above yourself choose another profession. life is so much easier when you don't have to remember lies.

it is actually easier for someone not in the system to get away with crime.

FireQuantum1 karma

I really want to be a detective or CSI but I have no drive to be an officer. How can I get into this field?

LifeAfterCSIdeath1 karma

there are plenty of forensic crime scene personnel that are NOT law enforcement officers. It differs from departments and regions. Ask yourself Why you want to be....? Often in life one takes a certain major in college and a great work opportunity comes up not directly related. think of what makes you happy and if serving others who are victims makes you happy so be it. realize that most jobs you want have requirements and know them and the people needed to access them. I was told as a new adult that i could be a cop anywhere if I was willing to move.

Bircher1 karma

Hello, I'm a 17 year old who is going to be graduating high school in about 2 months. I have always wanted to pursue a career in law enforcement because I want to be a homicide detective.

What advice can you give someone like me to better get into a career of law enforcement?

LifeAfterCSIdeath1 karma

accept right now that your mother may not like you choosing a dangerous position.

Don't limit yourself to being a Homocide detective. there are many law enforcement duties that you may have never thought of that you may be more happy with. Be open to college options to improve your chances of setting yourself apart from other applicants. The Military is a good choice because most police forces are run on a paramilitary structure. veterans often get benifits in the application process.

You are so young enjoy the two months you have. plan for the best and prepare for the worst. there are so many law enforcement positions that most people are not aware of that you could be doing. research them.

just a pet peave of mine. some people say being a cop is just a common sense job but in my opinion it is a common experience required to do it effectively.

Bircher1 karma

Thanks for the reply! Allow me to go a little bit more into detail.

After I graduate I'm going to enlist in either the Army or Navy. Id prefer to get some kind of job as an MP in the military but I'm open to anything. After serving however long my contract is, I will move back to Oregon (I love it here) and try to get a job with the OSP (Oregon State Police). If I can't get a job with the OSP then I'll settle with just about any LE agency. As long as I'm working in law enforcement, I don't care.

I've never been a school person so I likely won't attend college, I'll probably just save the 9/11 GI bill money for college for my wife or kids.

LifeAfterCSIdeath2 karma

I liked the Navy, but during my time the military police in the navy known as master at arms were trained by the airforce at lackland afb. it may be different now. every service has its own good points and bad points. it seems to me that the airforce usually has the best living quarters, the Navy the best food.

Sounds like you have a plan and that is a good start. remember to work to live instead of living to work.

funkarama1 karma

Did you ever catch somebody who tried to fool you or mask the crimescene? Any cool TV-like twists? unusual cases?

LifeAfterCSIdeath1 karma

cool twists? on the forensic side no that is usually experienced by the detectives i give the reports to.

I do remember on a drug raid a woman was running to a room to get her baby she said.. actually what we found was an ak-47.

On board ship a sailor had reported his phone calling card stolen in naples italy on leave when in actuality he sold time on it to other sailors knowing that the phone company would absorb the cost of a stolen card. but we tracked the numbers down called and exposed his fraud.

the seven deadly sins don't usually have a lot of twists. Larceny by scheme is a twist. bookkeeper for a business had the boss sign checks made out to legitimate vendors with legitimate invoices but never mailed them and deposited them using ATM into her account using a maiden name. the bank doesn't read who it is made out to just the account number. $67,000 dollars. she had been convicted of similiar schemes before but she got probation and resititution. it had taken her 18 years to pay it back. twist was she was using the money in part to gamble and pay the restitution from that last conviction in oregon. oh, her next job while on probation was ...... drum roll BOOKEEPER.

WilliePfister1 karma

Given your line of work you are faced with situations of life and death. Can you walk me though your emotions/feelings when faced with death? Also, how are you able to keep your mind right and get the job done in those circumstances? Thanks so much for doing this, your service was and still is appreciated.

LifeAfterCSIdeath1 karma

Willie..... who said it is right...LOL. It sounds all dramatic when you talk about it but it comes down to training, repitition and mindset. The police academies and colleges can train you how to do your job well and come home safe but they often leave out how to handle the fallout of when you are home and the reality of what you did or didnt do hits you. A lot of responding to critical incidents is instinct and reflex focusing on the job at hand and doing your best. there are so many situations in life that you feel you could do x,y,z but when the moment comes you may respond differently, maybe you run, maybe you fight maybe ...... the point is you have to do what you can and realize you are a normal human being , highly trained responding to extraordinary circumstances. most of which the public has no clue.

ok, death it can be exciting when realizing the physics involved or mundane when it is another visit to the senior center.

my personal experience, i responded to a fellow officer shot, an officer I worked with before. the suspect was down but not dead and the officer was being put on the gurney to medflight out and his service weapon was on the ground. I was angry, vulnerable by association and i felt like I wanted to pick up his weapon and finish off the suspect. we still thought there was a second suspect, I didn't do what i wanted to dispite watching him die on the gurney. I didn't know he was dead at the time the emts were working on him and i did hear him talk but later discussions (months later actually) i found out he was already dead. I followed orders and took positions blocking any escape over a marshy area where a second suspect could have been. standing post for hours listening to the radio, straining through the dark to observe and capture was in retrospect pretty stressfull. it turned out there was no second suspect. I went home after shift and next day went back to work.

Self awareness is a crucial element in getting the job done.

when my brother in law killed himself i went to work knowing he was missing. i was dusting for fingerprints at a home invasion and over the radio I had heard my brother in laws lic. plate ran and a call for the medical examiner. I had done hundreds of investigations and it gets to be almost routine dispite every crime being different. I am not sure why but my mind had forgotten what the next step of the latent finger print lift was. I almost felt like i wasn't there. well, i realized somethinng was wrong i finished up the best I could and was called to the suicide of my brother in law by dispatch (they didn't know) I contacted my partner accross county and told him to take the call, notifying him i was taking personal leave to support the family. while enroute to the family home i radioed i had entered the town and my partner warned me not to come to the scene in the woods of the state park. I still felt a bit in a fog but I always found in my life when I couldn't deal with something helping others to cope worked for me.

There was a need to see my brother in law so I looked in the files and viewed the photos. I am not sure why but I did. even now it is emotional almost two decades later. I realize now he was depressed but I am still pissed at him for leaving his family that way and making us pick up the pieces the selfish prick. be a man and ask for help. but I digress.

"tito can I have a tissue" (michael jackson joke as told by eddie murphy).

My first drug raid I prayed a lot and said "lord don't let me mess up"

Spiderdude1011 karma

Could you run through what would be a basic day for you? Like what paperwork and the pros and cons of your job?

LifeAfterCSIdeath1 karma

basic day was midnight shift. I loved it. it was kinda like a firefighter i suspect .. if there is not crime scene to go to you can do what ever you want. Paper work is 80 percent of the job in my estimation because defense attorney love to poke holes in paper work.

I would start my shift if there were no calls waiting i would stop by the local pd talk, take a drive to BK get a sandwich and then go to seven eleven and get two 2liter bottles of mountain dew for the night. a pd might call for pictures and prints of an arrestee or document evidence. I might deliver photos or evidence to a pd. maybe do a b/e or lmv, dv or mva. the great part of the job was there were no barking dog calls to go to. always needed when called and never resented for being there. one b/e would generate 22 documents sometimes not including the photos. any fatality and the staties had command so only photos for the local pd. Mondays mornings were quiet usually and you could catch up on the weekends paperwork either at the office or parked at an intersection in the cruiser. backing up the local pd's on calls when available was never objected to.

some mornings if it was quiet i would watch a sunrise and take pictures that where not so morbid. there has to be balance in everything.

Pros a lot of autonomy, and responsibility forensics was very black and white.
Cons administrations sometimes don't have a clue what street deputies do. calling me at 10 am when they know I work midnights was a big con. I went by a secretaries house one morning about 3 am and blew my siren. it felt good.

bear in mind not every dept is organized like mine. having sworn law enforcement as csi.

VividLotus1 karma

In your opinion, what are the best ways for civilians to get involved with helping to solve cold cases? It's something that has always interested me, and I actually really wanted to work in a CSI-related job for a long time, until I found out that I was disqualified from joining the police or military due to being hearing impaired.

LifeAfterCSIdeath1 karma

well, you could do dispatch as most of them wear headsets, you could do recorded dictation which has head sets as well. most civilian participation would be if you had some personal insight into a particular crime. to do investigating you may need a license from the state. frankly, cold cases are those without a statute of limitations on them mainly murder. as a civilian you don't want to get involved it those. try a community watch or civilian auxillary to a department. I hate to say it but either get trained to be a professional or leave it up to the professionals. sorry.

davewade1 karma

The ability to track cell phones as they move from tower to tower must be a wonderful tool for a forensic investigator. As a cell user, it's kinda scarry how much info The Man knows.

How difficult is it to get a judge to sign off on the request and how quickly do the phone companies to comply?

LifeAfterCSIdeath4 karma

that is a question above my paygrade. I collected trash and banged down doors. but keep in mind the cell phone tower is only one element of a cell phone location grid. wifi hotspots and traffic tracking all contribute to the man seeing you but mostly it is the "corporate MAN" that sees you more that the government man.

actualsnow1 karma

Best one liner from your career?

LifeAfterCSIdeath2 karma

If it wasn't documented it didn't happen.

LifeAfterCSIdeath1 karma

I am up in a tree watching the suspect go through the reeds in the marsh.

So you are sure that is your name because this fingerprint card says otherwise.

He bit his fingerprints off? Really?

Dalven1 karma

What the hell is up with those tags on your tinypic?

LifeAfterCSIdeath2 karma

the cost of doing business in law enforcement is people feel helpless when they are told what not to do so they try to reestablish control because of their overwelming fear. let it go, let it go, let it go. gotta love disney!

sparklenut691 karma

Do you make a special effort to look for situations where you can make puns and put on sunglasses like a bad ass? Or is that just t.v glorifying crime scene investigations?

LifeAfterCSIdeath1 karma

puns are required to ofset the notoriously depressing nature of crime. sunglasses are simply to keep a suspect from knowing if they are being watched.

and yes tv does glorify crime scene investigations. sometimes i liked it when the general public was ignorant about it. TV IS IN BUSINESS TO MAKE MONEY. the shows can educate and entertain but ultimately they need to sell advertising.

rescgaming1 karma

Have you played L.A. Noire?

LifeAfterCSIdeath1 karma


LifeAfterCSIdeath1 karma

Worked with a RN in the ER that had specialized training in rape investigation, collection and report. I had no problem receiving evidence from her or interacting to to a composite of the suspect. Good cooperation all around. Hairs fibers and serology were all transported to state lab by me so i cant comment on the evidential. value.

davewade1 karma

What is the office cooler chatter about "The First 48" TV show?

They always seem to solve the case...

LifeAfterCSIdeath5 karma

the first 48 and other shows are products made and distributed to make money through advertisers. people want to feel that bad people are caught so the shows give it to them. that being said. I believe in Karma. sooner or later career criminals suffer for their crimes whether it is 48 hours or longer.

cowboyjohnsontime1 karma

How does it feel to give up your humanity to other people? I mean in a very real sense you have given up youre interpertation of reality to another group of people that have given you guidelines and procedures to follow. We all have dealt with that on some level but as a sheriff you have done that more than most. Do you feel like that makes you a weaker person overall from a third part perspective? How do you reconcile your allegiance to law enforcement with your natural disposition to sympathize with the individual. DOes that still exist in you or did you snuff it out?

LifeAfterCSIdeath13 karma

to be trite i will quote the Mythbusters "i reject your reality and substitute it with my own.

whether i agree with your questions premise is irrelevant to the sum of my experiences. I believe I am more humane and allowed my humanity to manifest itself with less reliance and restrictions upon the social construct that is the rule of law. I believe this was achieved by seeing the choices people make in contravention of some law that results in most times as destructive result on some level of the participants transcendence of there personal humanity. Are there laws I do not agree with that I am sworn to uphold. yes. but there lies the core of duty to others and loyalty to a flawed system yes but no doubt the best system in the world.

the guidelines and procedures are not hierarchical but symbiotic in my opinion that work thru a series of checks and balances. it is not perfect by it is what we have.

A weaker person from a third part perspective. I suppose it could from a certain perspective. I have been strong for others for too long and it has taken its toll by inhibiting what i need to succeed for myself but it has also made me more compassionate for those that follow the law and reap the benifits that often follow.

Allegiance is not necessarily to the "law enforcement" but to the victims which i sympathize with instead of the individual acts of the criminal.

My sense of humanity has surely become unbalanced with the negativity of decades of crime but with a conscious desire to find the good in life it shall not be snuffed out. I feel more human than ever. how ever there was a point in my career when I had taken chances to protect others that surely would have been considered super human so maybe I am weaker. I can live with that.

Okinawamike1 karma

Have you ever had to respond to a case involving a relative?

Edit: Sorry about your brother in law.

LifeAfterCSIdeath3 karma

yeah, often when your a cop family calls you when they get in trouble as well. thank you . the worse part of my brother in laws death was that I have talked a person from suicide before and I just didn't even see any signs of my brother in law being suicidal. i had to realize there would have been nothing I could have done anyway.

jakewashere51 karma


LifeAfterCSIdeath5 karma

If I think back to how I thought in my 20's , YES it was fulfilling but it is never how you think it will turn out. I was idealistic then and experience tempered my reason. I was still an adrenalin addict though.

the best qualities are integrity, objectivity and an ability to detach yourself from the personal human nature you are exposed to while responding as you are trained to do with compassion when needed and extreme necessity to ensure you get home as you left it.

it was silly but I liked helping people in broken down cars and children demonstrations in classrooms. when you deal with bad stuff all the time you need to balance it with good stuff.. driving with blue lights fast was fun at first.

I liked the crime scene best because I was always fascinated with science and the application of it. but the SRT training was fun.

davewade1 karma

Are beat cops bored of writing speeding tickets and responding to drunk domestic abuse calls in their Ford Crown Victorias jealous of the detectives who get to dress up in suits and have more autonomy in what they do?

LifeAfterCSIdeath3 karma

I couldn't say as it really depends on the officers preference. each position has its good and bad points. some want to be political and climb the career ladder and some like the action. then there are some that get injured on the streets and need an office job. for me my unit was interdepartmental support whether it was crime scene or SRT. I use to always want to be a city cop till i worked the city dispatch room and saw more cops stressed inside the station than on the streets. so much politics and non cop stuff. I feel I had the best job. better than detectives. witnesses lie, victims lie, suspects lie but science is science . it either is or isn't evidence.

davewade1 karma

Cool. Thanks for doing this AMA. I imagine people also often ask you about your gig in real life.

LifeAfterCSIdeath3 karma

yes dave they do but in my retirement i work in a different field. sometimes I just say i was a photographer. sometimes people just act different when you tell them you were a cop.

Lolabluelola1 karma

I am currently studying criminology (in Australia) and writing an essay on the validity of psychological testing and educational requirements in order to join the police force. How important do you believe these prerequisites are? I'm particularly interested in what you believe would be the main issue in removing psychological testing from the screening process? Thanks!!

LifeAfterCSIdeath3 karma

I am not a psych major but i believe psych testing of police candidates is valuable and may assist in evaluating the motive for joining and the constitution of the candidate (do they have the stomach for it). As for the education I believe that the smarter the cop the better the service to the community. the problem being really smart candidates are sometimes excluded by the hiring board based on investment grounds. the department may spend $40 thousand dollars (random number) to train and equip the candidate and are hesitant to hire someone who has the capability to go to any fortune 500 company and make 6 figure salary. the other side is that hiring requirements can make hiring boards hiring people that are more of a liability to the department just to fill quotas. smarter cops and more altruistic cops serve the community better so you need metrics to evaluate those variables.

there was a day in policing when the testing was how good you could take a punch nowadays it is how well you do verbal judo and use a computer.

musicmerchkid1 karma

Do you like svu?

LifeAfterCSIdeath2 karma

Too much cookie cutter formula. I like LONGMIRE

etaveras991 karma

Are there still cold cases that you think about

LifeAfterCSIdeath2 karma

No. But there are cases that won't go away.

calmdownlad1 karma

How accurate are these shows we see on TV like CSI, NCIS etc?

LifeAfterCSIdeath2 karma

Asked and answered

blitzballer-1 karma

Has there ever been a case that youve had to leave unsolved? Whats the most disturbing case youve worked on? Whats the most bizarre missing persons case that youve come across?

shameless plugs for my subs!

LifeAfterCSIdeath1 karma

for a consultant credit you can find out. asked and answered.