The retirement this week of Sgt. Jim Binford, a Houston detective dubbed “Mr. Homicide” by younger colleagues, marks the end of an era, reports the Houston Chronicle. Binford, 59, is a silver-haired, fifth-generation lawman who carries a sawed-off shotgun named “Bertha.” At 26, he was the youngest homicide detective in the history of the force when he joined the elite “murder squad” in 1974 – only four years after graduating from Houston’s Police Academy.
Over his long career, Binford has taken generations of “baby detectives” under his wing. “A good homicide detective has to have a dark sense of humor – it’s a defense mechanism that makes us able to get through the day,” he explained. “This job is a continuous fight to not let cynicism ooze out of your every pore.” He has lived through the changes brought by technology, but Binford says a detective’s greatest asset is old-fashioned people skills. “It’s like your grandmother always told you,” he says. “You catch more flies with honey than with vinegar. That good-bad-cop really doesn’t work.”