Lt. Emanuel Martinez has always had a strong desire to help people. He says, Prior to becoming a law enforcement officer, I was employed at Hutzel Hospital as an intravenous technician. Being of service and helping others are my reasons for becoming a Detroit Police Officer. Martinez has been with the DPD since 1977. He joined homicide two years ago after working in a variety of departments, including patrol, burglary, internal affairs, narcotics and the Chief's staff division.
Martinez describes homicide as extremely demanding but challenging and interesting. He adds, I have a passion for this type of investigation and am honored to be associated the men and women who investigate death cases. He enjoys bringing closure for the many families who have sustained the loss of a loved one. However, Martinez says, The worst part of the job is losing your friends.
Martinez has two children, and says that, no one realizes the sacrifices that homicide investigators give regarding their time away from their families. One must have a love and passion for it. I am honored to be a part of this organization and the family known as police.
Before joining the DPD in 1997, Lieutenant Sherri Meisel worked as a medic for several years in the EMS division of the Detroit Fire Department. Since becoming a police officer she has worked in Patrol, Risk Management and the Forensic Services Division.
It sounds corny, but I really do like being able to make a difference no matter how small it might be in someone's life and in society. I love working homicide because of the feeling you get when you can get justice for the victim, their family and society, as well as the challenge that investigating homicides brings. She adds, Being able to regularly see sudden and sometimes violent death, injuries and illnesses, you get a perspective of how lucky you are every day that you can go home and see you family and enjoy life.
Meisel says, I just hope that people support their law enforcement officers. She wants, to encourage people to take a stand against violence by working with their community leaders and law enforcement, and rally against the current No Snitch paradigm that is so prevalent in the community.
Meisel has been married for fourteen years. She has several dogs and cats. In her spare time she enjoys reading, gardening, antiquing, junking, home improvement and dog training.
Lt. John Morell started his career in 1974 in the emergency room at Detroit General Hospital and later as an EMT for the Detroit Fire Department. In 1986 he joined the Detroit Police Department because, as he puts it, I wanted to be on the other side of public safety.
Morell has spent the past 13 years in the homicide department. For two of those years he was on loan to the FBI as a Federal Agent, working gang related homicides on the federal level.
Lt. Morell has two grown daughters and finds relaxation in home repair and golf. He also is an adjunct Criminal Justice professor at Macomb Community College. By teaching, Morell says, I can develop a legacy by passing on my experience and knowledge to bright young minds.
Lt. Linda Vertin joined Detroit Police Department in February 1987. She is now the Commanding Officer of the Homicide Unit. I have always wanted to be a police officer, Vertin says. I took a chance and look where I am today. Reflecting on that time, Vertin says, What I didn't know when I came on this job was how the community would help me grow and help me provide a better quality of police service.
Vertin describes her job in the department as the most challenging and stressful job she has ever worked, but adds, I love every minute of it. There is no other job quite like being a homicide investigator. Vertin has high praises for her team of investigators. Detroit homicide has the most dedicated, committed investigators I have ever had the pleasure of working with. They give 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Vertin is married and has two grown children. Her daughter is in the Air Force and her son is working for the Secret Service in Washington, D.C. She loves riding horses, reading and working on the computer.
Twenty-year Detroit Police Department veteran Sgt. William Anderson has been with the Detroit Homicide unit for over seven years. Despite having a vast resume that includes having been a property manager, a self-employed milkman and a U.S. Air force seismic technician measuring earthquake magnitudes, Anderson says that being a policeman is the only job I ever wanted.
A seven-year veteran of the homicide department, Anderson understands the sacrifices that investigators face. You have to love homicide, he says. Anderson is very proud of his ability to have a positive influence on the community. He says, There are children I meet who want to be police officers because of me. It's a great feeling.
Outside of work Anderson likes to spend quality time with his eight-year-old son. He also acts as vice-chairman of the Local Schools Coordinating Organization as well as being an active member of the Virginia Park Citizens District Counsel. He enjoys reading, photography and sailing on his 28-foot sailboat.
Born and raised in Detroit, Sgt. Charles Clark joined the DPD after having worked as a mail carrier, plant worker and office manager.
Clark calls police work a calling and says he is honored to be a Detroit Police officer and even more honored to be a part of DPD Homicide. He adds, We have great men and women down here that work together to bring closure to families that are mourning the loss of a loved one.
Clark is married with one child. In his spare time he plays basketball, billiards, tennis and enjoys riding his bike.
Sgt. Timothy G. Firchau joined DPD in 1997. He has worked with the homicide Department for four years after having previously worked in executive protection for former mayor Dennis Archer. He says, It was always a life-long ambition of mine to be a Detroit police officer and to work at homicide.
In his spare time, Firchau is an active bowler and golfer, and a season ticket holder for the Detroit Lions and Detroit Tigers. He is divorced with two children and one grandson.
Sgt. Ken Gardner joined the police department in 1986. Born in Chicago, Gardner and his family moved to Detroit in 1967. In 1986 Garner was inspired to join the force by the officers working at the 8th precinct, located directly across the street from his high school. I admired what they were doing and wanted to be a part of the contribution.
A homicide sergeant since 1999, Gardener says, I love finding out why a person chooses to commit the most heinous crime known to man. Gardner adds that, the best is hearing the jury say 'guilty' after a homicide trial.
Gardner is newly married and has two daughters and a son. Outside of work, he lists rollerskating as one of his hobbies.
Born and raised in a suburb of Detroit, Sgt. Matthew Gnatek has worked with the Detroit Police Department for over a decade.
The reason I became a police officer, says Gnatek, was for the excitement and adrenaline rush. He explains that the best thing about being a police officer is the ability to overcome sheer moments of terror. Gnatek admits that those instances are rare, and explains that one of the biggest misconceptions is that police work is full of constant gun battles, car chases, foot chases and fist fights. In reality, Gnatek adds, the majority of our day consists of documenting crimes that have already happened and writing reports.
Gnatek is married and has two stepsons and one dog.
A ten-year veteran of the Detroit Police Department, Sgt. Kevin Hanus has been in the homicide unit for just over a year. Before working in homicide, Hanus worked in special operations, patrol and narcotics.
He describes homicide as, a puzzle. You try to find as many pieces as you can and hopefully you can get an idea of what happened.
Hanus says, The best thing about being a police officer is when you go home at the end of the day and you feel that in some way, what you did that day may have prevented someone becoming a victim of a crime. He continues, The worst thing is when you did all that you can do and it is still not enough.
Hanus is married with three children. When he has the time, he likes to golf and hunt.
Sgt. James C. Hawthorne joined the Detroit Police Department in 1985, after having spent 16 years working as a supervisor at Chevrolet Detroit Gear & Axle. Before joining homicide, he worked in DPD's narcotics enforcement unit. He also worked with the United States State Department in executive protection.
Hawthorne was born in Detroit, but raised in Georgiana, Alabama. He comes from a family of officers including a brother-in-law in Detroit PD, a nephew on Kansas City SWAT, a cousin that works for the California Highway Patrol and a deceased great uncle that worked as a peace officer in Alabama. Hawthorne says his favorite part of the job is helping someone in need. He adds, To protect and serve is what we're about.
In his spare time Hawthorne enjoys playing the electric bass guitar for gospel quarters. He is married with one grown daughter.
A Detroit Police Department veteran since 1996, Sgt. LaNeesha Jones cites the television show Charlie's Angels as her childhood inspiration to work in law enforcement.
Jones has spent the past three-and-a-half years in homicide. She previously worked in patrol and gaming. According to Jones, police work allows her to combine her desire to help the community with her love for solving puzzles. It's never the same thing twice, says Jones. Every case is different and it's always a learning experience.
In her spare time, Jones loves to spend time with her nieces.
Immediately after high school Sgt. Mike Martel served active duty in the military. He then worked a series of odd jobs, including a painter, a landscaper, a security guard, and a pizza delivery guy before joining the DPD in 1993. Martel's father and two uncles were police officers before him.
Martel says, I like Homicide for a few reasons. First, I am too old to chase these 16-year olds in the street. Second, I like following the case from start to finish, not just making an arrest and then not knowing what happened after that. Third, Homicide is one of the worst crimes there is. I like being able to arrest murder suspects.
Martel has been married for 15 years. He has two sons.
Detroit native Sgt. Michael Russell, Sr. is a veteran of both the US Navy and the US Merchant Marines. He has been working with the DPD since he left the Marines in 1995.
Before homicide, Russell worked in auto theft, the carjacking task force, narcotics and as a precinct patrol supervisor. He says, The workload is heavy, but the satisfaction of sending a murderer to prison is worth the sacrifice.
Russell is married to a fellow police officer. They have four children. He is an avid Harley Davidson rider.
Born in Burlington, New Jersey, but raised in Detroit, Sgt. Constance Slappey joined the DPD in 1996 because, I wanted a job that was exciting with different adventures everyday.
Slappey has been in the Homicide Department for two and a half years. She says, I love Homicide because I love the thrill of the hunt. You have to wear so many different hats with this job. You never know who you may have to be, or what persona you have to take on when you are talking to people. It is just like acting, except it's very, very, real. There are no directors yelling cut at the end of our day. Slappey speaks about the harsh realities of her job by saying, People think that being killed or shot is part of our job description. We have families and friends that love us just as much as the citizens do. But for Slappey, the struggle is worth it. She says, The best part of being a police officer is the smile on a family's face when you can help them.
Slappey is married and has a dog named Mickey.
Sgt. Gerald Williams joined the DPD in 1986. Nicknamed Grouch, he worked in special ops and morality before joining homicide in 1998.
William's philosophy is, treat people the way you would want your family to be treated. If a problem happens at my home, the responding officers should act like it is their home and make decisions as if it was their home. He goes on to say, It may be corny, but the best part of the job is helping people who may not have the means to do so for themselves.
Williams is separated. He has four daughters. He enjoys big game hunting and fishing.
Sgt. Ernest Wilson joined the police force in 1986. He was inspired to join the police force by stories he heard growing up in Detroit. He explains, There were officers who were friends of my father. They told me stories of how they solved certain crimes.
Wilson says, I enjoy homicide not for the thrill, but for putting together a solid case. He adds, I became a police officer to give back to my parents, who gave so much to the city of Detroit.
Wilson and his wife Rhonda have five children and a dog. He enjoys fishing, bowling and spending time with his family.
Det. Dale E. Collins is a twenty-five-year veteran of the Homicide Department. He was born in Detroit, but raised in Hamtramck, Michigan. Collins has been with the DPD since December, 1971.
Collins says, "When an investigation begins, you bring in all units involved: uniformed officers, plain clothes unit, evidence technician, morgue. We all come together working hand-in-hand as a team. We then operate as a well-oiled machine. In doing that, we are the 'Best of the Best', and that case gets closed."
In his spare time, Collins enjoys playing basketball and golf. He is married with one daughter. He explains, "The worst part of the job is not to be able to spend quality time with my family."
Inv. Frazer Adams joined the DPD in July of 1985. He says, "I decided to become a police officer in 1977 but due to layoffs, it took until 1985 to join."
Adams says, "The thing about Homicide is knowing you cannot bring back the life of a loved one to their family. But you can find and bring the person responsible to court and pay for the crime." Adams adds, "The life of a homicide detective is knowing there are no winners in the crime. One family loses a loved one in death. The other family loses a member to jail."
Adams is divorced with four children and some very unique pets - fresh water stingrays. In his spare time he enjoys cooking, yard work and flying remote control helicopters.
Investigator Myron Love joined the DPD in 1985 after having worked in the Wayne County Sheriff's Department. He spent 15 years in the Narcotics Department before transferring to homicide two years ago.
Love refers to homicide as an everyday learning experience where you are meeting different people everyday, and trying to make a difference. Love adds, I love taking people off the street who carry guns.
Outside of work, Love enjoys bowling. He is married with children.
Officer Gordy Hampton has been with the DPD since 1986. He says, At the time, I became a police officer because it was just a job. Then I really got into it. Before joining homicide two years ago he worked in Narcotics.
For Hampton, the best part of his job is interaction with the community. He says, Being a police officer, you get a chance to meet all kinds of people.
Gordy Hampton enjoys softball and bowling in his spare time.
Born and raised in El Paso, Texas, Officer Moises Jimenez started his law enforcement career as a Campus Police Officer at El Paso Community College. He then joined the Military Police before joining the Detroit Police Department.
Like many in the homicide unit, Jimenez likes having the ability to help bring closure to grieving families. He explains, I still believe in the theory of helping people. And what better way than to help the ones that have been the victims of a crime.
In his spare time, Jiminez likes to ride his 1999 Harley Davidson. He is divorced with two children.
Officer Kelly Knox joined the Dallas Police Department in 1997. She credits her aunt, a retired DPD sergeant, with sparking her interest in law enforcement and says, As a child, I always wanted to be in the FBI or CIA.
Knox says, The biggest misconception about police officers is that we are not human. We laugh, cry and like to have fun like anyone else. But, according to Knox, there is a difference between law enforcement and citizens. Once you become a police officer your life is never the same. You will never look at anything through innocent eyes.
Knox is married with one child. She enjoys playing basketball and volleyball.
Detroit native Jo Ann Miller has over 20 years experience on the police force. She has spent the past eight years in homicide. Before joining the police department Miller worked as a dental assistant, a receptionist and a typist.
Miller's family was initially apprehensive when Miller expressed her desire to join the DPD. They definitely had concerns, she says. But after many long conversations and heartfelt tears they eventually came around, and still tell me how proud of me they are.
Miller loves helping people and making a difference in her community. According to Miller, the public has many misconceptions about police officers. Some citizens think we enjoy harassing and writing useless tickets, she explains. It's not true.
Miller has one son and a Shih Tzu named Max. She is good bowler and has what she calls a decent stick when it comes to shooting pool.
PO Scott Shea was born in Troy, NY but raised in a town just outside of Detroit. He first worked with the Wayne County Sheriff's Department before joining the DPD but moved because, I just really wanted to do police work and this city is the best way to do that. He credits his grandfather, Walter Shea, a Deputy Sheriff in New York, with sparking his interest in law enforcement.
Shea has been married for eleven years to his high school sweetheart. They have two children and an English Bulldog. He enjoys riding his motorcycle and attending sporting events with his family.
Officer Lance Sullivan has been with the police department for more than 10 years and has been in the homicide unit for two. Prior to joining the DPD, Sullivan was a journeyman bricklayer. He notes that working in seasonal bricklaying in Michigan, as well as the influence of his retired law enforcement father, made the decision to join the police department easier.
Sullivan characterizes homicide as the ultimate investigation. He adds that in order to be a good investigator you must be a good listener and speaker and you must pay attention to every detail. And, most importantly, you must always have an open mind. It's often much different than it appears.
Sullivan has been married for 12 years and has three children, a dog named Lucy and a cat named Phoebe. He loves coaching his children's sporting teams, riding his motorcycle, hunting, fishing and playing softball.
Officer Anthony Wright started his law enforcement career in 1985. Before joining the Detroit Police Department, Wright was a Drafting Supervisor for the City of Detroit's Water and Sewage Department. Asked about this career change, Wright says, I've always wanted to be in a position to help people.
Before transferring to homicide, Wright worked in Special Operations, Narcotics, Aviation and Head Quarters Surveillance. I love the investigation aspect of homicide, says Wright. You start off with nothing and then you end up with a complete picture. For Wright, one of the hardest things about the job is seeing how people can be so cruel.
Wright has one son and in his spare time likes to go boating.
Officer Chuck Zwicker joined the DPD in 1978 and has been in the Homicide Unit for the past 5 years. He says, I came on this job because I can't sing or dance. Zwicker was born and raised in Detroit and is the son of a DPD police officer. Zwicker says the best thing about the DPD is the hard-working officers who day after day show up for work and do a great job.
Zwicker has two grown children and is planning to get married soon.