PHOENIX — Solving cold cases isn’t just for TV cops — it happens in real life, too. And who better is there to help police solve cold cases than experienced, veteran police officers?
“We may not be policemen anymore, but we’re still cops at heart,” said Paul Ricks, a 27-year veteran of the Colorado Springs Police Department.
He is one of a trio of retired law enforcement officers volunteering to look at old, unsolved criminal cases in the Casa Grande Police Department. Along with Ricks, retired police chief Charles L. Shayler and retired officer Jim Jensen work on Casa Grande’s cold cases.
“[Casa Grande detectives] realize that we’re not there to find their mistakes and we’re no better investigators than they are,” Ricks said. “We’re just fresh eyes and a different set of experiences coming to the table.”
Along with Ricks, retired police chief Charles L. Shayler and retired officer Jim Jensen work on Casa Grande’s cold cases.
Ricks said the officers comb through old case files to try and surface hidden clues and sometimes, “we may just pick up on something that didn’t get picked up on.”
Many police departments have volunteer programs, Ricks said, and those volunteers serve in a myriad of jobs.
“[Volunteers] took a lot of the, if you want to call it, drudge work off of the officers and freed them up to then do things that required a sworn officer to do,” Ricks said.
He said the active Casa Grande detectives are grateful for the talent and experience the retired officers are sharing, but that the volunteer officers “enjoy the work and we also want to give back to our community.”
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