Sergeant Barbara Eckert
A 20-year veteran of the Kansas City, Kansas Police Department, Captain John Cosgrove heads their homicide unit.
Barbara Eckert, 42, is a sergeant in the Kansas City, Missouri Police Department. A 14-year veteran of the police force, Barbara has worked in the homicide unit for 3 years. Eckert heads a squad of seven male detectives. “We work as a team. Every homicide is a squad homicide it’s on seven shoulders, eight counting mine.”
Married, a mother of four, and an owner of a dog and two cats, Barbara keeps very busy at home as well as at work. She says she couldn’t do it without a very supportive husband and family. “It helps to know that there’s someone at home taking care of the kids and the house and everything else when you’re doing this job that you love.”
Sergeant Doug Niemeier
At the age of 32, Sergeant Doug Niemeier is the youngest sergeant in the Kansas City, Missouri Police Department Homicide Unit. He is the leader of the 1010 homicide squad, also affectionately know as the “Bad News Bears.” Niemeier describes why his team has embraced this name, “If you look at the group of people that we’ve assembled, everybody is very, very different but when it comes time to work we don’t have anybody who wants to be the hero, I just have people that just want to solve cases.”
Niemeier attributes becoming sergeant at such a young age to two things, “[As] I say all the time, if you surround yourself with good people, good things will happen to you, that’s what I try to do with my squad.” Niemeier also feels that lessons learned at a young age have helped him in his career today, “I learned from my parents and my dad, he was a teamster for 30 something years and he worked his tail off, he passed [that work ethic] on to me and helped me in this job today.”
Niemeier believes that “[you] don’t put your job in front of your family because when all that goes away, if you didn’t put your family first, they’re not going to be there for you when this is all over. So, I always put my family first and I know sometimes they feel like they’re playing second fiddle to the band, but they understand too.”
Detective Everett Babcock
Eighteen-year veteran and Oklahoma native Everett Babcock has spent the last five years in the Kansas City Homicide Department. He previously worked in Oklahoma’s Drug Task Force and for the Kansas City’s Domestic Violence Squad. Babcock has a 4th degree black belt in Shotokan Karate. In the past, he also surfed and was an occasional skateboarder.
He is an avid comic book collector, sci-fi fan and movie buff. He likes Westerns, especially John Wayne movies, and cites “Little Big Man” as his favorite film. He is also a published short story author.
Detective Everett Babcock has been married for twenty-one years. He has one daughter.
Detective Ed Begley
Detective Ed Begley is a twelve-year veteran of law enforcement, having worked for both the Kansas City PD and the St. Louis PD. However, since Begley is the newest member of the Homicide Squad, he is constantly being teased by his colleagues for being “the rookie.” They like to joke that each case is “his first case,” even though law enforcement runs in Begley’s genes: Det. Begley’s grandfather was a Lieutenant in St. Louis’ Homicide Department. Begley cites his grandfather as his “inspiration.” He describes homicide as a “challenging but rewarding place to work.”
Detective Begley is married with two children. He is a fan of soccer, golf, Nascar and baseball, and his colleagues often tease him for being a Chicago Cubs fan.
Detective Robert Blehm
Robert Blehm has spent the past thirteen years in the Kansas City Police Department, the last seven in Homicide. Blehm likes the sense of accomplishment associated with working Homicide and says, “If I’m going to be away from my family, at least it’s for doing something important.”
Blehm is a United States Air Force veteran. He worked as a bomb loader on A-10’s. He credits the Air Force for creating his love of travel: he has visited many countries in Asia and Europe, including Ireland, Italy and Germany. Blehm also enjoys boating and golfing.
Detective Robert Blehm is married with two young sons, Charlie and Carson.
Detective Donie Hoffman
A two-year member of the Kansas City, Missouri Police Department Homicide Unit, Detective Donie Hoffman did not start out her career thinking she would be working in law enforcement. “I got my degree in elementary education. I substitute taught for four years in the Omaha school district and couldn’t get a full-time job.”
Feeling frustrated with the lack of work in the schools, she took the advice of some friends, “a couple of the guys I worked with were applying with the Omaha Police Department and they suggested [I apply for] the DARE programs. That is what got me interested.”
Hoffman has been working in the Kansas City police force for almost seven years. Believe it or not, she thinks that “Teaching and police work are a little bit alike [there is] disciplining in teaching. And in police work, instead of just disciplining, you’re putting people in jail.”
Detective Mike Jones
Age 35, Detective Mike Jones has 10 years with the Kansas City Missouri police department with the last four years with the Homicide Unit. Before he became a homicide detective he spent 4 years on patrol and 2 1/2 years with the Domestic Violence unit.
Mike was born and raised in Kansas City and went to college at the University of Missouri, Kansas City, where he studied biology. Originally, he thought he would want to work in a Crime Scene Investigation lab, but found that he gravitated toward becoming a detective. “I felt it may be more exciting to not have a office job, not always be in the lab,” he says, “I think this suit me better.”
He finds detective work “always interesting, always something new with each case.” What he has learned over the hundreds of cases is to not try to make predictions. “It often doesn’t go the way you would think. It can surprise you.” What he finds the hardest part of his job is “Sometimes people are uncooperative, even friends of the victim sometimes won’t help us. You’d think they would, you’d think they’d want to know. It can be hard to understand.” Though the job can be tough and often frustrating, still he finds it has its rewards. ” I really like helping the families.”
Detective Ray Lenoir
Picayune, Mississippi native Detective Ray Lenoir is a seventeen-year veteran of the Kansas City Police Department, and an eight-year veteran of the Homicide Department. He has previously worked in the Patrol and Drug units.
Lenoir, an active family man and church-goer, has been described by colleagues as “the moral compass” of the Kansas City Homicide Squad. He and his wife Cornelia have been married for twenty-eight years. They have three children: Ray Jr., Michael and Jessica. Lenoir’s son Michael is following in his father’s footsteps as a recent graduate of the Kansas City Missouri Police Academy.
Detective Janice Liddle
Detective Janice Liddle originally hails from Omaha, NE. She has spent the past ten years on the Kansas City Police Department, and has worked Homicide for a little over a year. She says, “Homicide can be a very demanding and stressful job, but I like the challenge. The reward of putting a murderer in prison makes it all worth while.”
Liddle’s hobbies include running, biking and cooking. She is engaged to be married.
Detective Joe Marinella
A 10-year veteran of the Kansas City, Missouri Police Department, Detective Joe Marinella did not take the typical route to being a homicide detective. “I didn’t get on the police department till I was 27, I did all kinds of stuff [before then], like I worked on a Christmas tree farm here in Missouri, went to the University of Missouri a few years and lived in California for a year. I finally decided it was time to get on with a life and career.”
Marinella describes his career as a homicide detective as “very rewarding. It’s long hours, but in the end when you finally get your case solved and you’ve taken somebody dangerous off the street you actually feel like you’ve accomplished something.” Marinella says he feels lucky to be a part of the 1010 murder squad, “We’ve got a great squad. We’ve got different personalities, [but] we’re like a family. We don’t always get along, but we come together when we need to.” Marinella says he has “a very understanding wife,” a two-year old daughter, and another on the way.
Detective Steve Morgan
Detective Steve Morgan, 33, has been on the Kansas City, Missouri Police Department for 10 years. He has been with the 1010 squad for a little over a year. “It’s not what everybody thinks it is. I mean, we’re not CSI, we’re not NYPD Blue. It’s not what people see on TV. Everyone has this image of what being a homicide detective is, based on the TV shows they watch, and that’s just not the way it is.”
Born in Oklahoma, Morgan moved to Kansas City in 1994 to become a part of the Kansas City police force. “I wanted to work in a big city, or a bigger city than I was from.” Morgan is married and is a father of two young children.
Detective Keith Steinbach
Detective Keith Steinbach received his impetus to join the Police Department from an unlikely source: television. He says, “I saw ‘Cops’ on TV and it looked exciting so when I visited my sister in Kansas City, I filled out an application.” Before that, he worked in the Texas County, MO’s Sheriff’s Department, and says, “I enjoyed police work and thought, ‘Let’s go to the big city.” In his ten years at the Kansas City, MO Police Department, Steinbach has worked for the Tactical Response Team and the Sex Crime Unit. He has spent the past two and a half years in the Homicide Department.
In his spare time, Steinbach likes to go golfing, camping, fishing and hunting. He is married with one daughter.
Detective Matt Buck Williams
A homicide detective for a little over two years, Matt “Buck” Williams says the reason he became a homicide detective is, “you get to see a lot of interesting things, you get to use your brain, you’re trying to solve something, and you’re trying to put the things together to get things done and I like that.”
Sergeant Niemeier describes Williams as someone who “puts everyone at ease. When the room is full of tension, Buck will do something that will make everyone laugh. Because he feels that tension and he’s got to have a release, and he knows he’s got to make everybody laugh. That’s what I like about Buck.”
In addition to bringing some levity into an intense working environment, Williams is a detective who isn’t afraid to get dirty, literally. When asked why it seemed he was the first to “jump in the bushes” at crime scenes, he exclaimed, “It’s because other people seem to value their clothes more then I do!”
Williams is married and has two young children, a girl and a boy.
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