How A Town’s One Detective Handles His Caseload

Print More

The Seattle Post-Intelligencer describes what it’s like to be the one detective in a small town, in this case, Pacific, Wash., population 5,900: “If this small city in South King County experiences a homicide, Jim Pickett will be there to investigate. If someone breaks into your house here, Pickett will show up. If a child is abused, he will be the one taking the report. And if the patrol division of the 10-member Pacific Police Department gets overwhelmed, Pickett will jump into his unmarked police car and ticket abandoned vehicles, check out car break-ins or stop a suspected drunken driver. Oh, and he will process almost all the evidence in each case — something technicians often do in bigger departments — and do all of the follow-up investigations.”

With police everywhere trying to work harder and do more with pared budgets in a soured economy, Pickett’s job epitomizes the pressure on individual officers these days.

Pickett, 47, is a former newspaper reporter. Of his current job, he says, “I have a great time. It’s a lot of fun. Where else can you go out and catch the criminals and lock them up?”

In one neighborhood dispute, he spent 1 1/2 hours negotiating a compromise before a situation blew up. That kind of time for a relatively minor case would be unheard of in many larger departments, he said.


Comments are closed.


You have Free articles left this month.

Want access to all our reporting? Subscribe for unlimited access or login.