Lieutenant Toney Armstrong has been with the Memphis Police Department for seventeen years, and spent the last year and a half in Homicide. He previously served in the US Army.
Toney Armstrong says, "Someone has to make a difference, so it might as well be me." He is also proud of the fact that the Memphis Homicide Department solves 84% of their cases. "We take pride in what we do. Pride is our solve rate."
Armstrong is single, with no children and no pets. He is an avid football fan and loves the Dallas Cowboys.
Born and raised in Memphis, Lt. Mark Miller started working for the police department 3 months after graduating high school. He worked as an investigator for the Robbery and Felony Assault Units before joining Homicide. He says, "I enjoy working with a team and putting the 'pieces' together. I truly care about the people I work with and think of them as family."
Miller and his wife Paige have 2 children. In his free time he loves being with his family, especially in their RV.
Lieutenant Joseph Scott has always been interested in law enforcement. He says, "I wanted to be a policeman at about age 8 or 9 and everything I did in my young life was geared towards this goal." Scott started working at his hometown's Sheriff's office right out of high school. During this time, he obtained a degree in Criminal Justice, and joined the Memphis Police Department in 1987.
Scott takes great pride in his work, which he says is "one of the most important jobs in all of law enforcement. Murder is the most devastating crime committed in our society. Our goal is to solve one hundred percent of the cases presented to us for investigation. This goal is a lofty one, but anything less is sorrow and pain for these families."
Scott is proud of his homicide investigators. He says, "I am very proud of the men and women who serve the Memphis Police Department and it is a pleasure to supervise these dedicated men and women."
Lt. Joseph Scott is currently working in Investigative Services.
Joe Scott and his wife Ellen have four children that "have grown up on me in a hurry." He loves watching his sons play baseball and says, "My most favorite hobby in the entire world is being with my family."
Sergeant Bill Ashton jokingly refers to himself as "the old man of the squad." He has been with the Memphis Police Department for thirty-one years, and in Homicide for the past ten. He comes from a long line of law enforcers, as his grandfather was the Town Marshal of Baird, Texas around the turn of the century.
Sergeant Ashton is a family man, with a wife and two daughters. He feels this makes him better at his job. He says, "Having a family of mine own makes it even more satisfying when I can help a grieving family by giving them closure by solving a case. Homicide is the worst crime anyone will be touched by and it is nice to help people through that."
Like the others in his department, Sergeant Ashton considers the men and women of the Homicide department his second family. He says, "What make this job great are the people I work with and the camaraderie of the Homicide Squad. We have special bond here. We've become more than friends. We're a family."
Sgt. Eddie Bass, a 23-year veteran of the Memphis Police Department, became an officer when he was only 18. He was inspired to become a police officer by his uncle, who was retired a Captain with the MPD. Wanting to carry on the family legacy, four of Bass' relatives also became police officers, including two patrolmen, a lieutenant and a deputy sheriff.
Bass and his wife Sheena have been married for 14 years. They have 3 children: Sierra 18, Elliott 16, and Idella 12. Sgt. Bass is an avid golfer and can claim a respectable 10 handicap.
He has lived in Memphis his whole life. Bass says he bases his career on his relationship with God, and his commitment to improving his community through positive encouragement and leadership by example.
Sgt. Deborah Carson transferred to the homicide unit after spending several years as a patrol officer on the tough streets of downtown and south Memphis.
Carson is married to Sgt. Larry Carson, who works felony. Together, the Carsons have a 7-year-old daughter, Logan, who they call, "the light of their life."
In her spare time, Sgt. Carson is an active member of the leadership team for the Women's Ministry at her church, where she helps to plan and coordinate events.
Forty-six-year-old Sergeant Ron Collins has been with the Memphis PD for a total of 16 years. Sgt. Collins wanted to join the force right out of high school but his mother objected. After a couple of years in community college and 10 years doing factory work, Sgt. Collins finally decided to join the Memphis Police Departmentover his mother's objections.
Ron's goal when he joined the force was to work in two departments: Internal Affairs and Homicide. He has been able to accomplish both. He has a combined eight years of investigative experience5 in IAB and three in homicide. To Ron, homicide investigations are the most important, most challenging and most gratifying of all investigations. He says, "When you successfully complete a homicide investigation and you're burnt out from no sleep, you haven't seen your family for days and then the victim's mother or father calls you and thank you for all of your work, it makes you feel like you've done something meaningful with your life."
The most important thing in Ron's life is his family. He is married with two sons and two daughters. "I could not do this with out their support. I make sure I leave the murder investigations at work and make time to be with my kids." If the family and work become too stressful for Ron you can find him relaxing with his buddies hacking away on the golf course.
Memphis native Sgt. Eric Freeman has spent the past seventeen years with the Memphis Police Department. He previously worked in the Mayoral Security Detail, and in the Juvenile Squad and Economic Unit. He says of his latest assignment, "I like homicide because everything you do is important. You bring peace and relief to the families of victims of the most serious crime."
Police work runs in Freeman's family. He has one brother who is a lieutenant, another who is a burglary detective, and a third who was a Shelby County Sheriff's Deputy for 13 years.
Freeman is married with 4 children and 1 granddaughter. He is an avid sports fan and also enjoys cartooning and visiting art galleries.
Sergeant Barry Hanks has been a member of the Memphis Homicide Unit for three years. Having been a member of the Memphis Police Department for 22 years he is one of the most senior members of this team. When Hanks is not working he loves spending time with his family. One of his favorite activities is to race motorcycles with his two sons.
Sergeant Paula Harris considers herself to be a very athletic person, which is what led her to the Memphis Police Department in the first place. "I was used to leading a pretty athletic life, so sitting at a desk or working indoors really didn't appeal to me much," she says. "I had a couple of friends who were police officers then, so I applied to the academy and I liked it a lot." In her spare time she plays for the Memphis Traders, a competitive slow pitch softball team that won the ASA C-class Nationals in Oklahoma City in 2003. Sergeant Harris has been with the Memphis PD for over nineteen years and with Homicide for the past three. She describes it as "the best place I've ever worked in my 20 years on the job." She adds, "a long time ago, high standards were set for our bureau. We've got a great teamwork system of solving cases and we've got a great solve rate. The camaraderie we share in this office helps us maintain the high standards we want to maintain." Sergeant Harris is single and has "the two best dogs in the world," a pair of fawn boxers named Rookie and Ribbie.
Sergeant Tim Helldorfer never planned on being a police officer. The University of Mississippi graduate, originally from the Northeast, had always wanted to be in the FBI. However, as a young man, he needed to gain some important job experience before applying to the Bureau. He says, "The Memphis Police Department was interviewing and, for the experience of a job interview, I went, passed all the necessary tests, and twenty-seven years later, I am still here."
Before joining the Homicide Department, Helldorfer was in the TACT Unit, and describes it as, "numerous barricade situations (and) protecting several heads of state." After spending six years "taking on the underworld that preyed on the weak," he was called back as an instructor, where he spent eight years training the next generation of TACT officers.
After more than twenty-eight years of service, Sgt. Tim Helldorfer has retired from the Memphis Police Department.
Sergeant Helldorfer is married with four children.
Forty-one-year-old Sergeant Connie Justice grew up in Memphis and has spent almost half of it in the Memphis Police department. Her path to the homicide squad was long and trying. Starting as uniform officer, Connie found herself patrolling some of the most dangerous neighborhoods in Memphis. After getting her first taste of murder investigations on the Felony Response squad, Connie joined the homicide department 5 years ago.
Connie's strength comes from her faith in God. Her personal and professional life revolves around the church. Although she can empathize with suspects this should not be mistaken for weakness; she seeks what is in her namejustice. She says, "God gives people choices in life and if you choose the path that leads you to murder, you have to pay the price."
When Connie is not chasing murderers she is building her home with her husband, going to church and tending to her parrots.
Nick Kollias joined the Memphis Police Department almost four years ago. Kollias is currently working Uniform Patrol. He can usually be found in a squad car in Memphis' Central Precinct.
Kollias graduated from the University of Memphis with a degree in Technical Writing, but soon decided that sitting behind a desk wasn't for him. He lived briefly in Florida, where he was a pirate at Disney World's "Pirates of the Caribbean" before he returned to Memphis and joined the MPD. As a native New Yorker (he moved to Memphis when he was 13), Kollias is a die hard Yankees fan. He also loves fantasy football and traveling to sporting events. Kollias says that "being a police officer is like playing a game, but with higher stakes. You have to have a strategy, and the objective is to defeat the bad guys and move on to the next game. It's not personal, but losing is not an option."
Kollias is engaged and is the proud father of a four-month-old son.
Sergeant Kevin Lundy recently returned to the Memphis Homicide Department after a fifteen month stint in Iraq with the Army reserves. He hadn't always planned on joining the Memphis Police Department, but took the officer's test after a friend bet him that he couldn't pass. He did, and it's a lucky thing, because he refers to working in Homicide as "the best job in the world." He says, "I have the satisfaction knowing that when I complete and case and everything is laid out right, a bad guy is going to jail. That's a great feeling."
Sergeant Lundy likes the teamwork in the Homicide department. He sums it up best with, "Homicide isn't about the money, it's about making a wrong into a right... and wearing a tie."
Sgt. Kevin Lundy is currently working with the Safe Streets Task Force.
Sergeant Lundy is happily married with three children and a boxer. He coaches a Little League team in his spare time.
Sergeant Jeff Maness has been with the Memphis Police Department for seventeen years. Before that, he served as a gunner's mate in the U.S. Navy. He is also a veteran of Desert Storm.
Sgt. Jeff Maness is currently working in Burglary.
Maness has five children - four girls, and one boy. He loves fishing and cooking, and is known to whip up a mean omelet for his fellow homicide investigators.
A nineteen-year veteran of the Memphis Police Department, Sgt. Caroline Mason previously worked in the Domestic Violence Unit for eight years. She says that she was motivated to work in homicide after a devastating experience. "I lost someone that was very close to me," she says. "His life was taken suddenly at the hands of someone else. I'll never forget it. That was the beginning of me wanting to be a homicide investigator."
She jokes that it is her "black interview blazer" that does the trick, but Sgt. Mason has a knack for getting suspects to confess. She is alternately tenacious and empathetic in the interview room, and has on more than one occasion reduced even the most hardened criminal to tears.
Despite the grueling hours required of a homicide detective, Sgt. Mason understands the importance of nurturing a healthy home life. "You have to surround yourself with things that make you happy, positive things, things you love," she says. For Mason that includes her three children, her miniature poodle "Precious" and her extensive wardrobe.
Sgt. J.T. Max has been with the Memphis Police Department for over 18 years. Prior to becoming a police officer, Max served 4 years in the U.S. Air Force, as well as the Air National Guard. He then spent almost 12 years as a street cop before working as a robbery investigator and then in vice/narcotics. Max was recently transferred to the homicide bureau.
Max says, "Being a homicide investigator can be very demanding. A lot of times it seems that you are merely putting a band aid on an open wound. He adds, But there are times when everything comes together and there is no greater accomplishment."
Max has been happily married to his wife Wendy for eight years. He refers to her as his best friend. Max has a daughter, Heather, who is 18. Sgt. Max says that despite the pressure of his job, he always puts his family first. He says, "I really have no hobbies, I just like hanging around family and friends, maybe drinking a cup of coffee and enjoying the simple things in life."
Sergeant W.D. Merritt, the son of a police officer, has been with the Memphis PD since 1985 and has spent the last six years in the Homicide department. He likens his work to acting and says, "You have to be kind of sneaky to do this kind of work. Sometimes you have to be a sneak to catch a sneak." He enjoys the long hours and refers to the homicide department as members of his family.
Sergeant Merritt is married with two sons. He considers himself a "soccer dad" and makes it a point to be involved in his boys' games. He is the proud owner of one dog and two pet rats (Oreo and Caramel) who he refers to as, "Very friendly."
Sgt. Murray has been with the Memphis Police Department for 18 years. Before joining homicide, Murray spent five years as a robbery investigator and two and a half years in vice/narcotics. She cites the TV shows "Charlie's Angels" and "Police Woman as being an early inspiration for her career.
Sgt. Murray is the proud mother of two daughters. She refers to her daughters as the inspiration that lives within me to always strive to succeed. Murray says all of her hard work and long hours are possible because her daughters offer the love, support and encouragement for her to follow her dreams.
In her spare time, Murray enjoys spending time with her family. Her hobbies include traveling, bowling, attending plays at the Orpheum Theatre and listening to jazz.
Sergeant Mitch Oliver has been on the force for 22 years. Oliver originally planned to join the military, but after marrying his high school sweetheart, he opted instead to join the police force. "I never thought I would be a cop," he says. But he loved the adrenaline rush of "catching a bad guy."
Oliver has "done everything" in his time on the force, including working patrol, TACT, motorcycle squad, flying helicopters for the aviation unit, and now homicide. He was followed to the force by his identical twin brother, who works patrol. Whenever Oliver calls in his twin for assistance, he makes it a point to jokingly ask, "Who's better looking, me or my brother?"
Sgt. Mitch Oliver is currently a helicopter pilot for MPD Aviation Unit.
In his spare time, Oliver enjoys dirt biking, fishing, and water skiing. He has been married for the past twenty-two years and has three children.
Sergeant David Parks has been with the Memphis Police for twenty years, serving on the TACT unit for five years. He joined the Homicide team two months ago.
Before joining the MPD, Parks was in the Marine Corps. He says he became a police officer because he wanted to continue to "protect and serve." He enjoys working in Homicide "because when we make an arrest we make an immediate impact in that community."
Parks is happily married to his wife of twenty-one years. He has two children, both honor students. When he's not working, he enjoys boating and fishing, sports, listening to jazz and other music, and traveling.
Since being inspired to join the Memphis PD in 1986, seventeen-year veteran Sgt. Joe Peel has worked in Auto Theft, Crime Scene Investigation and Uniform Patrol before being transferred to the homicide unit. Peel finds the challenge of working homicide appealing. "Every day is different, he says. No two cases are the same.
Sgt. Peel and his wife have been married for 18 years. He spends his spare time with his 2 children, 2 dogs and 2 cats. He is also the President of the Motorcycle Club.
Although he was born in Houston, TX, Sgt. Mundy Quinn has called Memphis his home for the majority of his life. He comes from a long lineage of police officers. His great-grandfather was one of the original police officers in the El Paso, TX Police Department and his father is a retired Secret Service agent as well as a retired Memphis Police Department.
Quinn joined the MPD in November of 1987 at the age of 20. He has worked in homicide for a year loves the camaraderie of the department. "The Homicide Bureau operates on a team concept, when one of us gets a case the team assists in the investigation."
Quinn has been married for 17 years. He has 3 children and a red Doberman Pinscher named Justice. Quinn enjoys being involved in his children's extra curricular activities, such as coaching his son's Little League Football team.
Sgt. Bart Ragland is an 18-year veteran of the Memphis Police Department. He recently transferred to homicide after having worked six years in the robbery unit.
Ragland is married with three children. He is an avid baseball fan and in his free time enjoys riding his Honda Ace 1100 motorcycle on the open road.
Sergeant Doreen Shelton is no stranger to challenges. After growing up in orphanages and foster homes in Chicago she joined the U.S. Marine Corps at the age of 17. Her military experience was both an opportunity to gain self-reliance and self-discipline, two qualities necessary for any good police officer.
After joining the Memphis Police Department 16 years ago, Shelton immediately began challenging herself again. She worked in vice, the organized crime bureau, felony response, and robbery before landing in homicide a year and a half ago. She likes homicide because she feels it demands her best efforts. Shelton has gained a reputation for getting the truth from the people she interviews. She always starts out an interview with this statement to set the tone: "The first step is the hardest. You are going to have to tell on yourself. But after that we'll be able to move forward." Right from the beginning, Shelton lets the suspect know that she expects nothing less than full honesty.
Doreen Shelton has been promoted to Lieutenant and is currently working in the Felony Response Dept.
Sgt. Joe Stark has been a member of the Memphis Police Department for 19 years. He has worked on the streets, school security, crime scene investigation and with the robbery bureau. With all of this experience under his belt, Stark says he finds homicide the most rewarding. "I have a lot of good friends in this department and I treasure their friendships a lot. The homicide bureau is like one big family where I can go to anyone for help."
Forty-eight-year-old Stark has lived in Memphis for 26 years. He and his wife Glenda have been married for 25 of those years. They have three children together - Zach, Amelia and Meredith, as well as a dog named Jude and a cat named Belle.
Starks says that the joy he gets out of life comes from serving Jesus Christ. When people ask him how he can do what he does and be a Christian at the same time, he answers, "I want people who kill people off the streets just like everybody else, so they can't do it again. He goes on to say, The way I look at it, there are those few people who will get away with murder in this life, but I wouldn't want to be them after this life."
Detective Jay Acred has been on the Memphis Police Department for 7 years and is currently working in the Drug Response Unit.
The son of a Memphis Police Sergeant, Acred has been interested in police work since he was young. On working in homicide: "One of the reasons I enjoy working Homicide is the challenge to solve cases, "it is well worth it when the suspect is caught."
Acred is a recent graduate of Christian Brothers University in Memphis, where he majored in Psychology. When he's not working a case, Acred enjoys playing softball with his Union Station Precinct team, and spending time with family and friends (and his cat, Winston).
Detective James Woods served in the Army during the Vietnam era. He spent time in Germany, Korea and Panama. After retiring from the US Army, he was looking for a challenge, and signed up with the Memphis Police Department, where he has been for the past sixteen years.
Woods loves the Memphis community. He says, "What I like most about being a police officer is making honest people feel safe and criminals sweat." He wants everyone to know that "The officers of MPD are professional and we are proud to serve the community of Memphis."
Det. James Woods is currently working Uniform Patrol.
Woods is married with two daughters, one of whom is planning to join the Memphis Police Department. His hobbies include photography, and enjoying Memphis' fried chicken lunches.