Detective Kurt Ballman
Det. Kurt Ballman, nicknamed Huge, originally didn’t intend on joining law enforcement. He says, I went to college to be a school teacher. After college, I was a military policeman in the U.S. Army and found I really had a ‘knack’ for police work. Ballman joined the Cincinnati Police Department in 1990. After suffering a severe knee injury in the academy, he returned to work in 1991. He joined homicide five years ago.
Det. Ballman says, I don’t work for the dead. There is nothing more that I can do for them, though a great many times I pity them for the terror they may have felt before passing. I work for the living. I work for the grieving families. And I have an obligation to society to remove the worst and most dangerous elements and put them behind bars for as long as possible before they can hurt someone else or kill a truly innocent victim.
Ballman has spent the past few years as a single parent raising three boys. He says, They became the focus of my life, and the only reason I did not volunteer for the homicide unit when I was originally asked. Now that they’re grown, Ballman has dedicated himself to his work in homicide.
Life in homicide has changed the way Ballman views the world. He explains, So many people have the luxury of living their entire existence not knowing what kind of monsters are really out there lurking. I have no distance. The worst of the worst is always in my face. However, he adds, Still for some reason I remain a fairly positive person and have a positive outlook on life. I enjoy waking most days just to see what’s coming. I don’t feel broken, just a little bent.
In his free time, Ballman practices martial arts. He trains and teaches Tae Kwon Do three times a week. He is also an avid reader, especially interested in history, philosophy and religion.
Sergeant Joe Briede
Sgt. Joe Briede has been with the Cincinnati Police Department for 14 years. He has been a supervisor in the homicide unit for the past year and a half. As a supervisor, Briede values the opinions of his team and says he likes, “To listen to everyone’s ideas or thoughts about an investigation.”
Briede has been married for 17 years. He and his wife Gina met in high school. They have two sons. In his spare time, Briede coaches his sons’ baseball and basketball teams. He and his wife participate in a co-ed soccer league with some friends. He says, this is my time to forget about the job… at least until the phone rings.”
Detective David Gregory
Rookie homicide detective David Gregory has been with the Cincinnati Police Department for over 7 years. “As long as I can remember, I wanted to be either a soldier or a cop,” Gregory says. He has achieved both.
After spending 13 years in the Marines, Gregory signed up for the CPD and was eventually assigned to homicide, a position Gregory says he’s coveted for the majority of his career in law enforcement.
Outside of the job Gregory spends most of his time with his seven-year old son.
Detective Bill Hilbert
Det. Bill Hilbert has been with the Cincinnati Police Department for 16 years, spending the last 6 in homicide.
Despite the grueling hours, Hilbert enjoys the challenge of working homicide. “You’re put in charge of a case and then you and your partner see it through. You come up with ideas. It’s a lot of frustration, but you work through it.” Hilbert adds, “There’s a lot of highs and lows. It’s like a rollercoaster. You go two weeks without getting any breaks and all of a sudden you have the floodgates open.”
As a veteran homicide detective, Hilbert has honed an effective strategy to elicit confessions from his suspects. “You have to know how to relate to people,” says Hilbert. “While you can never put yourself in their shoes, you do have to look at things from their eyes. And by understanding, you might be able to get through to them.”
Hilbert is married and has grown children. Outside of work, Hilbert enjoys golfing and doing “the normal things that people do when they’re not working.”
Detective Doug Lindle
Det. Doug Lindle has been with the Cincinnati Police Department for 19 years. He previously worked in patrol and district investigations before transferring to homicide six months ago. He says, I wanted to work with the best. These are the most important investigations there are.
Lindle feels persistence is his most important attribute. He uses this in the interview room where he questions his subjects until the truth comes out.
Doug Lindle and his wife, a former police dispatcher, are raising a very large family. They have four girls, two boys and a newborn. Doug’s oldest son is twenty-three and is also a police officer. Lindle also owns a hardware store, which, he says, allows me to help people in a different way.
Detective Jenny Luke
Jenny Luke worked in the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Department before she transferred to the Cincinnati Police Department. She joined the homicide unit five years ago and says, I would have never given up the opportunity to be part of a unit like this.
It doesn’t matter what the deceased person may have been doing in his life when he was murdered, Luke says. No one has the right to play God. She feels a strong sense of duty to work for not only the victim, but for the victim’s loved ones. Families depend on my unit to help them find closure. They are the ones suffering after their loved one is killed, so I want them to have any peace I can give them.
Luke previously worked in the undercover units and credits this experience with helping her think outside the box. Her past experience especially helps her in interviews. It helps me find alternative ways to catch ‘the bad guy’ in a lie.
Luke is a single mother with two boys, ages 4 and 11. She tries to attend every one of their football, basketball and baseball games. I couldn’t do this job without the help of my parents who constantly baby sit for me when I get called in or need to stay late, she says. I owe them everything.
Detective Terry McGuffey
Det. Terry McGuffey, a seventeen-year Cincinnati PD veteran, has been working homicide for the last 2 years. “You have to keep going,” McGuffey says about being a homicide detective. “You keep going until you find the answers.”
McGuffey brings to homicide his experience as SWAT negotiator, a role that has helped shape his approach in coaxing confessions from murderers. “A lot of times when somebody’s backed into a corner, that’s when the claws come out,” says McGuffey. “You have to be tenacious, but you have to do that in a way that makes them feel comfortable enough to talk to you.”
McGuffey spends most of his free time with his children. Both his son and daughter play racquetball, a sport McGuffey played until an injury took him out of the game.
Detective Jennifer Mitsch
Jennifer Mitsch has been with the CPD for 11 years and joined the homicide unit two and a half years ago. “Other than the abuse of a child,” Mitsch says, “I don’t think there’s anything worse than the crime of murder.”
“I think that most people, when something happens to them that’s bad, they want to know why. They want explanations. They want to understand. They want closure.” Mitsch does everything in her power to give the grieving families that kind of closure. “In the very beginning of a case,” Mitch says, I think you have to set everything else aside if you really want to do a good job.”
Though Mitsch understands the sacrifice that being a homicide detective takes, she acknowledges the importance of creating balance in her work and personal life. “You need to know when to set your boundaries, when it’s time be able to make time for yourself.”
Mitsch has a young son and daughter, and says they take up most of her time outside of work. She also devotes several hours each week training dogs to find missing persons.
Detective Jeff Schare
Fifteen-year Cincinnati PD veteran Jeff Schare has spent the past four and a half years in the homicide department. Nicknamed ‘Pee-Wee,’ Schare says, The best quality I have that enables me to be a homicide detective is tenaciousness. Once I start a case I hate to stop until I’ve solved it, no matter how long it takes.
For Schare the best part of his job is bringing closure to grieving families. He says, There is nothing better than to hear a jury say, ‘guilty,’ while sitting in court with a victim’s family.
In his spare time, Schare is an avid cyclist. He is a 7th degree black belt in Song Moo Tae Kwon Do and is also a teacher and trainer at the Eastgate Martial Arts Club. He says, Both cycling and Tae Kwon Do help burn off the stress of the job.
Detective Matthew Thompson
Fourteen-year Cincinnati Police Department veteran Detective Matthew Thompson comes from a family of police officers. He is a former military policeman and has always felt a strong belief to do my patriotic duties.
Thompson was transferred to the department four years ago. Since then he’s found his new unit to be very rewarding. He says, You can work a homicide as long as you need with virtually no restrictions on resources. He brings with him a great ability to communicate with witnesses and suspects saying, My passion is the interview room.
Thompson and his wife Nicole have been married for twenty years. They are raising four children, ages 11 to 18. In his spare time Thompson relaxes by playing guitar. He says, It’s something that is completely unrelated to police work. I play with a bunch of guys that are not cops.
Detective Sal Tufano
Salvatore Tufano was in his senior year at the University of Florida and on his way to law school when he had a sudden change of heart. I was completing my internship at the Public Defenders Office and I saw it was so easy to get the bad guy off. I decided I wasn’t going to do that. He adds, I thought about my godfather, Frank Gambino, who was a detective for the Nassau County Police Department in Long Island, New York. Inspired, Tufano joined the Cincinnati Police Department the same year Gambino retired.
Tufano has high praises for his team. He says, Every person in this unit brings something different to the table. When a new case comes in everyone works together supporting the primary investigators and assists until the task is manageable by the lead investigators. He adds, The other detectives I work around make me a better detective every day.
Tufano and his wife Lucy have four kids ranging in age from eight to 19. He says his family is the most important thing in his life and cites his favorite hobby as, Living vicariously through my children.
Detective Colin Vaughn
A 3-year homicide veteran, Det. Colin Vaughn has spent more than 10 years in the Cincinnati Police Department.
Colin describes a good homicide detective as one who “is both tenacious and detailed oriented, as well as being good with people in general.”
Outside of work, Vaughn likes to mountain bike, shoot competitively and travel. He has a brother in law school and “the best parents in the world.”
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