Category Archives: Sketch Of a Murder

Information about the book Sketch Of a Murder

MEET RONALD ARNEAU, COMPUTER SPECIALIST, SPECIAL CRIMES TEAM

MEET RONALD ARNEAU, COMPUTER SPECIALIST FOR SPECIAL #CRIMES TEAM

Interviewer: Mr. Arneau, thank you for coming to this #interview.

Ronald Arneau: (grins) Just call me Ronald. Everyone except the Special Crimes Team does.

Interviewer: Why don’t they call you Ronald?

Ronald Arneau: (shrugs) Everyone’s too uptight right now.

Interviewer: Why’s that?

Ronald Arneau: (frowns) This case we’re working on…(shakes head) It’s, well, it’s really difficult, but that’s all I can say about it or Lieutenant Williams will skin me.

Interviewer: (smiles) Okay, I won’t ask anything else about the case. I don’t want to get you skinned. May I ask why you wound up on the Special #Crimes Team?

Ronald Arneau: (presses lips together for a moment before answering) Well, the governor wanted me on it. That’s really all I’m allowed to say. I don’t need to piss the governor off. (murmurs very softly: again)

Interviewer: (steeples fingertips together) All right. I don’t want to tick off the governor, either, so we’ll leave that line of questions. Tell me, Ronald, what do you do on the Special Crimes Team? You’re not a #cop, are you?

Ronald Arneau: (Big grin) Not a cop. Don’t want to be a #cop.

I do whatever they need done that involves a #computer. Like the first thing Lieutenant Williams wanted me to do, even before we had our first official team meeting, was to set up everyone’s #laptop and create a Team Room where everything about the case can be posted.

Interviewer: Hmmm… Don’t laptops come pre-installed these days?

Ronald Arneau: (sits up straight and leans toward interviewer. Eyes are sparkling with enthusiasm) Most laptops that the general public would purchase come with a basic operating system and whatever application you order. The laptops for our team require additional software that only the police department has access to, as well as additional security software.

Interviewer: (cocks a brow at Arneau) Hmmm, I get the feeling you are telling me much less than the whole truth with that answer. What is a Team Room?

Ronald Arneau: You can think of a Team Room as a big library where we can securely store all kinds of information about active cases, and even have an archive for closed cases. This allows the team members to share information more easily.

Interviewer: (purses lips, gives a little whistle) Wow, that sounds darn complicated. I’m a technosaur, myself. What else will you be doing once everything is set up?

Ronald Arneau: Well, if they need research, I’ll do that; post #crime scene photos in the Team Room, examine computers or storage devices recovered in raids to extract evidence, trace IP addresses to find where communications or postings originated. If any of the team members have a problem with their laptop I can trouble shoot and help resolve those issues. Like I said before, anything related to a computer is my job.

Interviewer: (widens eyes and rolls them)  Wow! I’m impressed! That’s a brain fry; maybe we can move on to something that I’ll actually understand.

Ronald Arneau: (chuckles)

Interviewer: Do you live in #Seattle?

Ronald Arneau: (face settles into serious look) Yes. I wanted to get my own place, but I’ve kind of put that off for a little while. My dad’s sick.

Interviewer: I’m sorry to hear that. Sounds like you’ve lived here for a while. What are some of your favorite things about Seattle?

Ronald Arneau: I grew up in Seattle. I guess the thing I like most about Seattle is the #Pacific #Science #Center. My parents started taking me there when I was a kid.

Interviewer: What do you like about the Pacific Science Center?

Ronald Arneau: (big grin) I love Science on a Sphere. They use computers and video projectors to display these radical images of the atmosphere, oceans and land on an illuminated sphere about six feet in diameter. And the images are dynamic. There’s datasets that let the system explain complex environmental processes. That exhibit just opened in 2010.

Then there’s the Laser Dome….Man, that is so awesome. These laser artists do live laser art set to music. Really slammin’.

The IMAX Theater is really great, too. The Hunger Games is going to be shown there soon.

But I guess one of the things I’ve loved about the Center for years is the Tropical Butterfly House. You walk into this tropical jungle set up and there’s all these different types of live butterflies, just hanging on the plants and walls, and flying around, and sometimes they even land on you. There’s even a chrysalis viewing window where you can watch a new butterfly emerging.

Interviewer: I’ve gone to the Pacific Science Center years ago, but now I’m going to have to make time to visit it again. I’d forgotten about the Butterfly House, and the Laser Dome.

Well, Ronald, I’m afraid we’re out of time, already. It has been a pleasure talking with you.

For those who would like to know more about the Pacific Science Center:

http://www.pacificsciencecenter.org

To learn more about Ronald Arneau, read Sketch of a Murder, Book 1, Special Crimes Team   http://www.amazon.com/Sketch-Murder-Special-Crimes-Team-ebook/dp/B00KU6AIPQ

Sketch of a Murderebook 7 30 2014

 

 

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MEET DR. IRENE NELSON, #FBI, SPECIAL CRIMES TEAM

MEET DR. IRENE NELSON, FBI, #SPECIALCRIMESTEAM

Interviewer:  Dr. Irene Nelson is with us today. Thank you, Dr. Nelson for consenting to this #interview.

Dr. Nelson:  (inclines head slightly) My pleasure.

Interviewer: How did you happen to be assigned to the #Special #Crimes #Team, Doctor?

Dr. Nelson: Governor Marleton and I met a few months ago at a conference. When she felt it would be beneficial to create a special law enforcement unit to deal with certain crimes that crossed jurisdictions, she contacted the Assistant Director. They had known each other for years, so it was logical to ask him for input. My name came up, and….(she spreads her hands a little in an open gesture with a small smile) here I am.

Interviewer: Are you referring to the #murders of Dr. James Benning and Roland Henry?

Dr. Nelson: Those cases were assigned to the Special Crimes Team.

Interviewer: Wasn’t Dr. Benning a contributor to Governor Marleton’s last campaign?

Dr. Nelson: You would know the answer to that question better than I would. Politics is not my forte.

Interviewer: From my research, I understand that Lieutenant Williams, the head of the Special Crimes Team, has in the past objected to what he referred to as “Bureau interference.” How did he feel about Governor Marleton bringing you in?

Dr. Nelson: (face very serious) Lieutenant Williams is a dedicated professional law enforcement officer. He recognizes that additional resources can sometimes produce quicker results.

Interviewer: (gives a little grin) Hmm. So he really wasn’t all that thrilled at getting an #FBI agent dumped in his case, but figured that since he couldn’t kick you out, he’d take advantage of the extra help. Is that about right?

Dr. Nelson: (a smile tugs the corners of her lips. Her eyes twinkle) What an interesting theory based on your original question and my response.

Interviewer: I hope you aren’t offended, but I did a bit of research on your career.

Dr. Nelson: I’m honored that you found me that interesting.

Interviewer:  It seems that you’ve taken the long road to where you are today. Your first career was as a heart surgeon then you became a psychiatrist.  Why?

Dr. Nelson: I found heart surgery rather …predictable.

Interviewer: Is that code for boring?

Dr. Nelson: It is never boring to save a life. (She gives a small smile that takes any sting out of her words) I simply find the mind a more interesting part of the human body.

Interviewer: How does a heart surgeon slash psychiatrist– whose father is a well-known heart surgeon and whose mother is an equally well-known gynecologist– go from practicing psychiatry to becoming a Special Agent in Charge with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and then from there go on to join the Behavioral Analysis Unit, the #BAU, of the FBI?

Dr. Nelson: (raises a brow and quirks a smile) My, my, you really did research my background. (all levity fades from her face) However, you didn’t spread your net quite wide enough. A few years after I began practicing psychiatric medicine, my first cousin, Peter O’Reilly, was murdered in his own home. He had been a Special Agent in Charge for a number of years. His killer was eventually apprehended due to the work of the BAU. Being only children, and growing up in the same neighborhood, Peter and I were exceptionally close.

Interviewer: I’m sorry for your loss, Dr. Nelson. And, you’re right; obviously I didn’t research deep enough. Thank you for sharing.

Dr. Nelson: It’s been many years since Peter’s death, but I still miss him.

Interviewer: (glances at watch) It appears that our time is almost up. We’ve been talking about some pretty serious stuff, so let’s end this on a happier note. Will you share with us one #facebook page that you enjoy, one #restaurant you love, and one place you want to go visit someday?

Dr. Nelson: (a big smile spreads across her face and up to cause her eyes to twinkle) I’d love to. One #facebook page, hmm, (taps lip with index finger) I believe the one I am currently enjoying the most is called Wild and Wise Women; a close second, though, is one called Cops Kind to Critters.

As for a restaurant…. As you know, I live in Virginia and haven’t been in this area for long; however, I met a lovely lady at Pike Place Market in #Seattle and we got to talking. She told me about a small eatery in #Anacortes. She said the town itself was well worth the drive north and she recommended #Gere-a-Deli as the place to have lunch. It’s in an old bank building on Commercial Street. The prime rib sandwich had thick slabs of prime rib, the bread was melt-in-your-mouth fresh, and the deserts are simply to die for.

Interviewer: Wow, now I’m hungry!

Dr. Nelson: (chuckles) You really have to try it out. Now, the last question: a place I would like to visit.  ( a dreamy look settles on her face) There are so many beautiful places in our world: #Mount Haleakala on #Maui in the Hawaiian Islands. I’ve seen photos of it, simply fascinating. #Yellowstone Park, I’ve never been there, but I’ve always wanted to see the geyser, Old Faithful. A cruise to Alaska’s on my list, too. (Her light laugh is like warm chocolate) However, of all the beautiful places I have yet to see, I think the one I would most like to visit is the #Redwood #Forest in California. Even though I am not a woodsy-type woman, I feel it must be so inspiring, so spiritual to walk among those ancient trees.

Interviewer:  I did have the good fortune a few years ago to visit that area. Those trees are truly awesome, and the drive is beautiful.  Well, Dr. Nelson, we are out of time. I want to thank you again for coming.

For those who would like to know more about Dr. Nelson’s choices:

Facebook:   https://www.facebook.com/wildandwisewomen

http://www.facebook.com/copskindtocritters

Redwood National Park:  http://www.redwood.national-park.com/

Maui, Hawaii:  http://www.gohawaii.com/maui/regions…maui/haleakala-national-park

Gere-a-Deli, Anacortes, Washington:  http://www.gere-a-deli.com/

To learn more about the Special Crimes Team and Dr. Irene Nelson:

To learn more about Irene Nelson, FBI, read Sketch of a Murder http://www.amazon.com/Sketch-Murder-Special-Crimes-Team-ebook/dp/B00KU6AIPQ

Stay tuned to this blog for all the latest and greatest!

Visit Aya at http://www.facebook.com/ayawalksfar   or   http://www.facebook.com/AyaWalksfarAuthor

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COVER REVEAL! SKETCH OF A MURDER, BOOK 1, SPECIAL CRIMES TEAM!

Sketch of a Murderebook 7 30 2014

Wealthy, prominent men sexually mutilated and gruesomely murdered.  Governor Marleton forms a unit, the Special Crimes Team, to take the heat and to hunt down the killer. The unit, seen as the Siberia of law enforcement, is comprised of misfits and loners, cops who’ve pissed somebody off.

Sergeant Nita Slowater, a mixed blood Native American, knew she should never have knocked that reporter on his skinny, white ass. Now she’s stuck as the second-in-command of the Special Crimes Team. As if that isn’t bad enough, her superior, Lieutenant Michael Williams, a black man, is in a constant state of PMS and riding her case.

If they can’t figure out a way to get along, more men will die at the hands of the self-dubbed Avenger.

The only bright spot in Nita’s life is her unlikely friendship with a homeless black woman, Molly the Pack Lady. Then Molly dies and wills her artwork to Nita.

Within the old woman’s art lies the key to the killer’s identity, but will Nita discover it before an innocent man dies?

AVAILABLE NOW!!!!
http://www.amazon.com/Sketch-Murder-Special-Crimes-Team-ebook/dp/B00KU6AIPQ

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MEET OFFICER DRISCOLL MULDER, SPECIAL CRIMES TEAM

MEET OFFICER DRISCOLL MULDER, SPECIAL CRIMES TEAM

Interviewer:  I am so glad you could make this #interview, Officer Mulder.

Officer Driscoll Mulder:  Yeah, well, the Lieutenant said we should play nice with you.  (Folds his arms over his chest)

Interviewer:  Well… (interviewer  gives a small frown) Does that mean you would prefer not to be here?

Officer Driscoll Mulder: (Gives a big shrug) It’s okay. So what do you want to ask me?

Interviewer:  What do you want me to ask you?

Officer Driscoll Mulder: (Purses lips) You’d make a good cop. Answer a question with a question. (Gives another shrug) It’s your show.

Interviewer:  Okay. Why did you join the #Special #Crimes #Team?

Officer Driscoll Mulder:  (Brows shoot up to his hairline) You go right to the meat, huh? All right. ( He sits up straight and locks his eyes on the interviewer) I joined them because I’m #gay. (He leans against the back of the chair, his eyes never leaving the interviewer’s face.)

(Interviewer raises a brow) Why would being #gay be the deciding factor on whether you joined the team, or not?

Officer Driscoll Mulder: (Purses lips and makes a sucking sound between teeth as he watches interviewer) There are still neanderthals who believe that being a cop means being a ‘man’s man’ (He makes air quote marks with his fingers) and to them being gay makes me less than a man. Oh, I could’ve hid in the closet, kept my mouth shut and blended, but that isn’t me. I march in the Pride Parade, I speak up in the locker room when someone thinks some of their heterosexist jokes are oh so funny. Doesn’t make me popular.

(Interviewer gives a small head shake) Being on the Special Crimes Team is better?

Officer Driscoll Mulder:  (He slouches in his chair, stretches his legs out in front of him) Don’t know yet. Just got there. Can’t be any worse than where I was.

Interviewer:  If being a #cop is so difficult, why do it? Why not go into some other line of work?

Officer Driscoll Mulder:  (A weariness settles on his young face) Being a cop is difficult, and dangerous. Between the bigots on the street who would love to shoot a gay cop for being gay, and the bigots in the force who wouldn’t mind turning a blind eye to that kind of shooting, being a gay cop is even more dangerous, but if not me, then who? If I don’t push forward, there will be no trail for any other LGBT person to follow.

And those queer kids out there, the ones who hate cops, well maybe they can relate a little better to a queer cop. At least, it lets them know there is someone who might understand. Do you have any idea how many of the street #kids are LGBT–lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender?  The last stat I read said that 50 percent of the street kids are there because they are #LGBT. Many of them are thrown out of their houses, or they run from parental violence. That’s one of the reasons why I’m an out, gay cop.

If that means I transfer into what other #cops see as the Siberia of law enforcement…. (He gives a one-shouldered shrug) then that’s where I’ll go.  No bigot is going to stop me from representing my people—LGBT people—and giving a voice to them from within law enforcement. Besides, (he gives a grim smile) if I keep shining a light, maybe others will see the kinks in the system, and maybe there will be a chance to effect a change.

Interviewer: That is quite a burden, but I admire your courage. If we don’t forge a trail and create changes, then who will?

My wife and I married as soon as it became legal for lesbians to marry in Washington State.  Not only does it protect our right to be with our loved one in a medical situation, and to make those important health calls, but the inheritance law won’t penalize us as it does when two people who build something together, but can’t marry are penalized. And that is just two of the rights that heterosexual couples have enjoyed all along, but were denied to lesbian couples, to all LGBT couples.

(Interviewer smiles) One of the things I appreciate about being able to marry is letting other people realize: my choice of who I love does not take anything away from you, and it brings to the world nearly 25 years of two people living a life of commitment and love. In this world, especially today, we need all the honest, healthy love we can get.

Well, Officer Mulder, I truly do thank you for coming. For those who would like to learn more about who LGBT people really are, I suggest you visit sites such as Have a Gay Day (FB) http://www.facebook.com/MyGayDay .

(Remember: that no single site, or any number of sites, can claim to speak for “all LGBT people” just as no site, or any number of sites, can claim to speak for “all heterosexual people”.

STAY TUNED TO THIS BLOG ( http://www.ayawalksfar.com ) for all the latest and greatest news!

Sketch of a Murderebook 7 30 2014 AVAILABLE ON AMAZON: http://www.amazon.com/Sketch-Murder-Special-Crimes-Team-ebook/dp/B00KU6AIPQ

Visit author, Aya Walksfar, on Facebook:   http://www.facebook.com/ayawalksfar

Visit Aya at   http://www.pinterest.com/ayawalksfar to see photos of places important to the members of the Special Crimes Team.

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MEET DETECTIVE FREDERICK ALBERT, SPECIAL CRIMES TEAM

MEET DETECTIVE FREDERICK ALBERT, SPECIAL CRIMES TEAM

(Interviewer) It is my pleasure today to interview Detective Frederick Albert of the Special Crimes Team. Detective Albert, thank you for coming.

Detective Albert: You’re quite welcome. (sits straight, hands resting on the chair arms, spring-green eyes meet interviewer’s in a friendly gaze.)

Interviewer: We have been getting to know some of the members of your elite law enforcement team. My audience and I would love to get to know you. (Interviewer waits to see if Detective Albert will respond, but he sits quietly) What can you share with us about yourself?

Detective Albert: (elbows propped on chair arms, fingertips steepled lightly together, a slow smile touches his well-shaped lips) There are many things, Ms. Walksfar, that I could share with you, however, since our time is limited I will attempt to stick to the most salient facts.

I spent a number of years in the Marine Corp and when I left the Service I entered the police academy. Fresh out of the Academy, I hired onto the Spokane Police Department where I worked my way up to detective. When the opportunity arose to join the Special Crimes Team, I accepted. Lieutenant Williams has an exemplary reputation as a fair superior with excellent investigative skills. (falls silent and lifts a brow as if to say: next question)

Interviewer: Is the reality of the Special Crimes Team what you expected?

Detective Albert: (tilts head slightly as he watches interviewer for a moment) Is anything in life exactly as we expect? (His slow smile is warm) As for the Special Crimes Team: the team is staffed by dedicated, capable investigators. According to the guidelines set out by Governor Marleton when she formed the team, we are mandated to deal with the worst cases of man’s inhumanity to man. Before I joined the team, I was made aware of our mission.

Interviewer: (He fell silent and went into waiting mode again) Do you live in Seattle, Detective Albert?

Detective Albert: (takes a sip of his coffee that has been setting on the table next to him) Yes, ma’am, I do. Seattle is a fascinating city.  It boasts a wide variety of ethnic foods and cultures; there are theatrical and musical performances one might attend; and the waterfront is awash—pun intended–with interesting activities. How can one not appreciate such diversity?

Interviewer: Do you have any special places, or activities, that you would like to share with us?

Detective Albert: (gaze turns thoughtful) I believe two of my favorite places are the Seattle Art Museum and the University of Washington’s Botanic Gardens, also known as the Arboretum.  Art is uplifting and trees are peaceful.

Interviewer: (glances at clock) Darn it! We are out of time, Detective Albert. It has been such a pleasure speaking with you.

Detective Albert: I assure you, Ms. Walksfar, that the pleasure was mine.

SKETCH OF A MURDER, THE SPECIAL CRIMES TEAM’S FIRST CASE!

Get it here:  http://www.amazon.com/Sketch-Murder-Special-Crimes-Team-ebook/dp/B00KU6AIPQ

Sketch of a Murderebook 7 30 2014

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To learn more about the University of Washington’s Botanic Gardens go to:   http://www.depts.washington.edu/uwbg/gardens/wpa.shtml

To learn more about the Seattle Art Museum go to:   http://www.seattleartmuseum.org

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MEET DETECTIVE MAIZIE O’HARA SPECIAL CRIMES TEAM

Interviewer:  This week I am privileged to interview Special Crimes Team member, Detective Maizie O’Hara.  Detective O’Hara, thank you for taking time for this interview.

Detective O’Hara: (smiles) Lieutenant Williams said it would be good for us to talk to you, so here I am.

Interviewer:  Are you a native of Seattle?

Detective O’Hara: No, ma’am. I grew up in Ellensburg, but I moved to Tacoma.

Interviewer:  Were you a detective in Tacoma?

Detective O’Hara: Yes, ma’am.

Interviewer:  What brought you to Seattle and the Special Crimes Team?

Detective O’Hara: (a cloud passes over her face) I…felt like it was in my best interest for my career.

Interviewer:  (lifts brow) Would you care to elaborate on that?

Detective O’Hara:  No, ma’am. (Her lips press tightly together)

Interviewer:  Okay. Let’s talk about something else. What do you think about having a woman as the second in command of your unit?

Detective O’Hara:  (Beams a big smile) I think it’s awesome! Don’t get me wrong, though. Lieutenant Williams is really great, too.

Interviewer:  Why did you become a police officer, Detective O’Hara?

Detective O’Hara:  (All signs of levity disappears) To help women. I want to help men, too, but I became a cop to help women.

Interviewer:  Do you think you’ve been able to do that, so far?

Detective O’Hara:  (A furrow appears between her eyes and her lips turn down at the corners) Yes, I believe I have.

Interviewer:   Then why the down look on your face?

Detective O’Hara:   (Bites her bottom lip) Well…I guess I idolized law enforcement before I became a cop, and for a while after. (takes in a deep breath and lets it out slow) But sometimes, being a cop isn’t enough. As a cop, I have to stay objective, but sometimes, I need to get involved to make sure that justice happens. It kind of…(she shrugs) It kind of wore the shine off the brass, I guess, when I figured that out.

Interviewer:  (after she is silent for a long moment, interviewer speaks) Can you tell me anything more specific about your epiphany?

Detective O’Hara:   No, ma’am.

Interviewer:  You’re a police officer and you serve all of us that way. Are there things that you do to specifically try to help women?

Detective O’Hara:   Well, I volunteer at a domestic abuse women’s shelter. I read to the kids so the women can have their support meeting. You know, so the little kids don’t interrupt and…well, women don’t always like to talk about stuff around little kids. And, I’m going on a walk in November with some women friends to show support for domestic abuse survivors. And, I have a friend with a facebook page and sometimes I post links on it that are important.

Interviewer:  Sounds like you’re pretty serious when you say you want to help women. Why don’t you have a facebook page?

Detective O’Hara:  (ducks head) I’m not very good with techie stuff. (raises her head and gives interviewer a shy smile) I have a girlfriend who’s going to teach me about doing a facebook page. We just haven’t had the time yet.

Interviewer:  I’m not great with techie stuff either. (gives a smile to Detective O’Hara) What kind of links do you post?

Detective O’Hara:  Stuff about domestic violence, and sometimes links to pages where women are doing something important to help the world and each other.

Interviewer:  If there was only one link you could recommend that people go check out, which link would that be?

Detective O’Hara:  (catches lip with teeth and worries at it)  Well…there’s a blog called upworthy.com and they posted this link to a site where these women in Amsterdam do this really powerful dance performance. They’re in the Red Light District over there and they’re dancing in the windows of this building, like an apartment building and there’s all these men gathering on the street to watch them dance because….(a flush reddens her cheeks), because it’s really very sensual. You know?

Interviewer nods

Detective O’Hara;  Anyway, after the dance is over a big sign up on the top of the building flashes and says: “every year thousands of women are promised a dance career in Western Europe. Sadly, they end up here.”  Then it flashes “Stop the traffick. People shouldn’t be bought and sold.” Actually, according to Upworthy millions of people are affected by human trafficking every year; not just women in Europe. Their whole dance was about making people, men especially, understand how terrible human trafficking is.

Interviewer:  Whoa, sounds like a powerful video. I will definitely post that link here. We’re almost out of time. Is there anything else you’d like to share with the women of our audience?

Detective O’Hara: Just…well, just don’t let anyone tell you stuff like you aren’t good enough, or pretty enough, or thin enough. You are enough, just the way you are!And, if they say stuff like that, get away from them because they aren’t really your friend.

Interviewer:  Again, Detective O’Hara, thank you for coming in and sharing with us.

To visit the site recommended by Detective O’Hara:

“Who Doesn’t Like to Watch Half-Naked Girls Dancing? These Guys After They See Why It’s Happening    http://www.upworthy.com/who-doesnt-like-to-watch-half-naked-girls-dancing-these-guys-after-they-see-why-its-happening   (Red Light District, Amsterdam.)

To learn more about Detective Maizie O’Hara, read Sketch of a Murder, Book 1, Special Crimes Team  http://www.amazon.com/Sketch-Murder-Special-Crimes-Team-ebook/dp/B00KU6AIPQ

Sketch of a Murderebook 7 30 2014

Visit Aya at http://www.facebook.com/ayawalksfar

 

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MEET OFFICER JUAN RODRIGUEZ, SPECIAL CRIMES TEAM

Interviewer: (smiles) I am pleased to welcome Officer Juan Rodriguez of the Special Crimes Team. Thank you so much for agreeing to this interview, Officer Rodriguez.

Officer Rodriguez:  You can just call me Juan.

Interviewer: Thank you, Juan. You seem quite young to be on such an elite team. How did you happen to become a member of the Special Crimes Team?

Juan: (ducks his head and looks at the floor) Well, ma’am, my captain thought it would be a good opportunity for me.

Interviewer:  Did you have to move, like Sergeant Slowater?

Juan: (gives a little shrug) Didn’t matter.

Interviewer: So, you like Seattle?

Juan: (glances up and away) It’s okay.

Interviewer: (slight narrowing of eyes) Tell me about your family, Juan.  Do your parents live close-by? Do you have sisters, brothers?

Juan: (takes a deep breath and lifts his chin. Looks steadily at interviewer) I only have a brother, and he’s pulling time for murder. He killed our mother.

Interviewer: (mouth gapes. Closes mouth and stares for a moment) I am so sorry.  I had no idea.

Juan: (dips his eyes to his hands in his lap. Picks at his thumbnail) ‘Sokay. I coulda just said I didn’t want to talk about it, but it’s not hard to find the story. It was all over the Concrete Herald for weeks.

Interviewer: (sits back in chair and studies the young man in front of her) Juan, tell me something…. What’s your passion? What is it that you could sit and talk all day about? That if you won the lottery and could quit work, this is what you would do with your life.

Juan: (no hesitation as a big smile creases his swarthy face) #Kids. I’d work with kids. (He scoots to the edge of his chair, his dark eyes sparkling) Ya see, I think Ben wouldn’t have done what he did if he hadn’t gotten involved with a gang. It was what he had to do to make his bones. If, somehow, there had been someone who really cared, someone he coulda looked up to, I think he woulda gone that way.

Interviewer: (in a soft voice) Are you sure that’s not just wishful thinking on your part? Look at you, you haven’t killed anyone.

Juan: (shakes his head) Ben’s older than me. Fact is, the gang made him take out our mom because I went to the police academy. Said he had to prove his blood wasn’t gonna make him a snitch, that he loved his gang more than his family. (His face is earnest as he places his arms on his thighs and leans forward) If he hadn’t done it, they would’ve killed all three of us.

Interviewer: (sighs and shakes head with a puzzled frown) I guess, I don’t understand gang mind set, and I certainly don’t understand how a person could harm their own family.

Juan: (brows raised) It happens all the time. Domestic violence, child abuse, murder for less than what made Ben kill my mother. Murder for greed, for inheriting a house, maybe just because a parent didn’t get the kid the kind of iPod he wanted. And that’s just the physical stuff. Family members hurt each other all the time emotionally. Moms and dads use their kids to punish the other parent; kids bully their siblings.

Interviewer:  You’re right. I suppose, I just don’t like thinking about it. What would you do to help break the cycles of violence that young people wind up in? What can one person do? This is a huge social issue.

Juan: (sits up straight and looks interviewer right in the eye) Care. One person can’t change the world; but that one person can change their little corner of the world. When I see a kid bumming, I go talk to him, or her. I try to steer them to a shelter where they’ll be safe. Hook them up with folks who can help them.

Interviewer: What if they don’t want your help? What if they think being out there on the streets, or wherever, is more exciting than home and they don’t want some shelter social worker telling them what to do?

Juan: (a slow smile spreads across his lips) I just keep right on caring. There’s this one kid I see all the time down on Denny Street. On Saturdays, I show up if I’m not working and take him to coffee. I don’t preach at him, don’t tell him what to do or not do. I just have coffee and breakfast with him and listen to whatever he wants to tell me.

Interviewer:  Do you really think it’s doing any good?

Juan: (folds his hands in his lap and shrugs) Doesn’t matter. (Makes air quotes) “Doing any good” is a judgment call. I’m not there to judge him, or his life. I’m just there to share what he wants to share with me. Do I think it matters? Yes, it matters. (He leans forward, hands dangling between his knees) Everyone needs someone to care; to care if they live or die; to know that someone would miss them if they were gone. And, (he leans back in his chair) I enjoy spending time with him. He gives me a different perspective, a different take on life. To me, life is about caring; caring and sharing what you can with those you meet.

Interviewer: Wow, you really are passionate about your interactions with young people. Why didn’t you become a social worker?

Juan: Social workers have rules to follow in their interactions with kids, and they should have rules. The only rule I have to follow is to be honest, honest with the kid and honest with myself.

Interviewer: Well, Juan, our time is up, but I really appreciate you opening up a part of your life and sharing it with us today. You certainly have given me a lot to think about.

To learn more about Officer Juan Rodriguez read Sketch of a Murder! http://www.amazon.com/Sketch-Murder-Special-Crimes-Team-ebook/dp/B00KU6AIPQ

Sketch of a Murderebook 7 30 2014

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What does an elderly, homeless woman have to give to anyone? The answer to that question lies within the first case of the Special Crimes Team, Sketch of a Murder.

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