“Ten Things That Policing Has Taught Me” With Rod Demery, Host of Investigation Discovery’s “Murder Chose Me”
“Policing can be a lonely place. Policing is an isolating profession. After several years one begins to sacrifice all, including one’s family, friends and self for the job. I’ve come home to my fair share of empty apartments and notes that read “I guess I’ll only see you if I’m a crime victim.”
I had the pleasure of interviewing: Rod Demery, Retired homicide detective and host of Investigation Discovery’s series “Murder Chose Me”. The second season of MURDER CHOSE ME is currently airing on Investigation Discovery on Wednesday’s at 10/9c
Thank you so much for doing this with us! What is your “backstory”?
I was a homicide detective for 14 years with the Shreveport Police Department. During my tenure, I solved all the murder cases where I served as lead detective — more than 250 altogether. I’ve been in law enforcement for 30 years. My entire adult life, I’ve been a law enforcement officer of some shape and form. I believe this career was my calling.
When I was 3 years old, my mother was murdered. When I was in my 20s, my brother committed a murder and together, those two events shaped my destiny. I am certain that these experiences led me to become a homicide investigator. My experience gives me a unique perspective — I can go to a crime victim’s house and understand the pain that the survivors are going through and know how important it is to bring closure to a case for their own security, peace and emotional well-being. On the flip side, I have the ability to separate the crime from the criminal and understand that the crime is not the person, but it’s an act. My nonjudgmental approach is what works for me, as far as getting the person who committed the crime to cooperate.
Today I am a special investigator for the District Attorney’s office in Caddo Parish, in Shreveport, LA. I review homicide cases and make sure they are prepared for prosecution, in addition to doing community outreach, victim’s assistance and domestic violence advocacy work.
Can you tell me about the most interesting cases you are working on now or have worked on recently?
One of the most memorable cases was the murder of a young pregnant woman. The case represented so much… domestic violence, community apathy, and proved that murder can visit anyone. It was a very emotionally trying case.
It reminded me that murder is a very personal crime. What I mean by that is that we try to come up with reasons that someone may have killed another person…sociological or lifestyle choices. The reality is that it’s something that people do when they feel a complete loss of control over their emotions to a point where they are overwhelmed by it. Its inexplicable and the only person who can understand the “why?” is the person who lost control and committed the act.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are?
My community in Alamogordo, New Mexico was completely diverse and was the perfect environment to learn that people are people…black, white, Latino, Asian, gay and straight. I learned a little bit from everyone.
My grandfather was definitely one of my biggest influences. a very disciplined man and he had a basic principle of right and wrong. He was very matter of fact, not at all into gray areas. I am the same way. He believed that at the end of the day, it’s right or wrong and if you choose the wrong thing, you need to take responsibility for it. He was a retired WWII veteran. He just made discipline, the spit and polish attitude and service attractive and appealing to me.
Another big influence was a detective named Lieutenant Sam Taylor. He arrived in the morning before everyone else and was the last person to leave at the end of the day. He taught me about interview and interrogation techniques and emphasized the important of honing those skills. He distinctly separated doing your job and passing personal judgments on these people. Our job is to find out what happened. Interview and interrogation was his strong suit and I learned a great deal from him in those areas.
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
Probably the most overwhelming and humbling part of this is experience is being able to immortalize so many lost lives and to make the world smaller through compassion. Folks from as distant as South Africa mourn with and pray for the families of Shreveport. We’ve humanized pain and tragedy and shown how both are universal worldwide.
Do you have a favorite book that made a deep impact on your life? Can you share a story?
King David by Jonathan Kirsch. The book takes a deep look into the flawed man King David was. I can totally relate to the favor and grace God continued to show a warrior with a love for his God and his people. I particularly relate to the many illustrations of love, war, pain triumph, and sacrifice.
What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started my career” and why.
– Policing can be a lonely place. Policing is an isolating profession. After several years one begins to sacrifice all, including one’s family, friends and self for the job. I’ve come home to my fair share of empty apartments and notes that read “I guess I’ll only see you if I’m a crime victim.”
– Sleep will become evasive. My mind never stopped. I’d wake up in the middle of the night to respond to a murder call or I’d have an idea that generated a new lead. I had many eureka moments in the middle of the night and many resulted in solving cases.
– Your driving skills are not really understood by civilians, in fact, everyone that rides with you is most likely terrified. After years of absolutely everyone telling me my driving scared them, I realized it’s just a cop thing.
– Cops are the most sensitive people on earth. I’ve never met a puppy or toddler that didn’t steal my heart. Bunnies are pretty dope too.
Not too long ago, I made this list of ten things that policing has taught me:
1. Everyone is vulnerable
2. Pain is negotiable
3. Vulnerability and pain are neutralized when you relieve that of another.
4. Fear is destroyed by discipline
5. Suspicion is the product of guilt
6. Peace and evil will never peaceably exist, one will most certainly submit to the one most determined
7. A love for humanity is not always a murder deterrent… the appeal of prison often is.
8. There are police officers and there are those employed by the police department, huge difference.
9. Liars believe no one
10. A police officer’s love, success, and reward come from the least among us
Some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this 🙂
I’d love to have a conversation with. O.J. Simpson, I’d really like to hear his story. I’m a homicide detective, so naturally I would love to get a read on him.