Lieutenant Nancy Dunlap
Lt. Nancy Dunlap started her law enforcement career at the Hennepin County Sheriff's Department before joining the Minneapolis PD 23 years ago.
With just three years in homicide, Dunlap has clocked in an impressive amount of hours. "I don't think anybody can fathom the amount of hours that go into these cases. You're going for 36 hours straight."
Despite the grueling hours, Dunlap enjoys the creativity that working investigations require. "That's why I'm drawn to this," says Dunlap. "There's so many different ways to approach a solution and resolution."
Dunlap's favorite part of the job is in the interrogation room, where she can best utilize her creativity to coax confessions from her suspects. "I'll try things that are so out of my personality," she says, "getting angry with them or being really calm and sympathetic to their plight."
In her spare time Dunlap likes to fish, golf and garden in her backyard.
She is currently the Lt. of the sex crimes unit.
Lieutenant Rick Zimmerman
Lt. Rick Zimmerman has spent the past twenty-seven years in law enforcement. He credits such television shows as McCloud, Streets of San Francisco, and Colombo with sparking his interest in law enforcement. He joined the homicide unit in 1995 after having worked in narcotics and the sex crimes unit. "Once I became a cop, I'd see these homicide guys arrive. I was always impressed by what they did. There's a dead body laying there and then, two or three days later, I'd see in the paper somebody was arrested for it."
Zimmerman describes interviewing suspects as not only "the best part of homicide," but also an integral part of his job. "Over the years I've seen a few guys come in and out of homicide. And the ones that stay, the ones that are good, I think can relate to people. They feel comfortable talking to folks. They're not a Joe Friday kind of guy."
Zimmerman says he was trained by "old homicide guys." "I still carry a revolver," he says. "I don't think there are many cops left in the city that carry a revolver. But it's worked for me for 28 years, so I'm not going to change." With the new crop of homicide detectives, Zimmerman gets to experience what he refers to as "new homicide." He explains, "It's computers, cell phones, knowing how to get information from those sources. I think that's the new homicide of the future. And the technology part of it. I think that's going to be very helpful." But Zimmerman adds that you can't rely on computers alone. "You still need to talk to folks, and you need to burn a little leather off your shoe." He adds, "You need to connect that piece of evidence to an individual."
Sergeant Tammy Diedrich
Twenty-year Minneapolis PD veteran Tammy Diedrich has spent the past nine years in the homicide department, and currently works in the cold case unit. Originally planning to be a paramedic, Diedrich decided on a career in law enforcement in college and says, "No one in my family has been a police officer, so I am the first."
Diedrich explains, "What drew me toward homicide, I would say, is when I was working in patrol and I would always seem to be one of the first or second squads on some homicides. And the Homicide detectives back then would always be male detectives and I thought, 'Oh, they need some females in that unit.'" Diedrich feels being a female officer comes in handy, especially in interviews. "Women tend to be very good listeners. So it's nice to have a male and a female detective in there. Sometimes it just takes that female touch to get the confession."
While Diedrich has great compassion for her victims, she finds it important to separate herself from her cases. "You always want to get justice for the victims and their families. A lot of times I've got to step back. I try not to get too attached, because you've got to keep that fine line." Diedrich never goes to court for her final verdicts, because, she explains, "Families get to read victim impact statements. And I know I would be an emotional waterfall, so I don't attend those."
Diedrich and her fiancee, a deputy sheriff, have been together for fifteen years. She says, "He proposed a couple years ago and we haven't really set a date." In her spare time she enjoys gardening.
Sergeant Bruce Folkens
Sgt. Bruce Folkens is from a very small town in Minnesota. "I graduated with sixty-four people in my high school," says Folkens. He has been with the Minneapolis Police Department for twenty years, and has spent the last ten in homicide. He previously worked in the narcotics unit.
As soon as Folkens joined the MPD he quickly realized he wanted to get into the homicide department. He says, "When you first become a police officer, you're on the street in uniform. When you get called to a murder scene, you see the homicide unit show up and you know that they're a professional, dedicated group of people. These are the best detectives we have in the police department."
While Folkens enjoys bringing closure to victims' families, he describes working homicide as "a privilege and a curse." He explains, "It's a huge privilege to give families resolution and to hold those people accountable for their actions. It's a curse when you know who did it, but you can't hold them accountable for a variety of reasons."
Folkens says the Minneapolis weather provides an interesting variable for some of his cases. He explains, "We have bodies that are found outside that are frozen. And sometimes we actually have to put a tent over a body during a blizzard to keep the body from being covered from snow and therefore potentially destroying evidence."
Folkens is married with a four-year-old son. In his spare time, he enjoys ice fishing and hunting.
Sergeant Erick Fors
Ten-year Minneapolis PD veteran, Erick Fors has been in homicide for a year. "I feel real fortunate to have been given the opportunity to do what I do," Fors says. "You're able to go out and make a difference in people's lives."
Fors has spent the bulk of his career in uniform patrol. Before joining homicide, he spent time in the juvenile investigations division. "It was a great place to get my feet wet in terms of investigations, and handling a case load, and honing my interviewing skills."
Fors admits a struggle to separate his work life from his home life. "You might spend 16, 17 hours at a scene or on a case, and when you're home your mind is still going over things. It's hard to turn off your mind," he says. "But I always try during my drive home to switch that off. To have that moment to shift from work mode to home mode."
Fors is married has two young children that keep him busy.