Retired law enforcement officers help active duty detectives with cold case investigations

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MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. – A group of retired law enforcement officers are using their skills as a Cold Case Review Team in South Carolina. Their goal is to generate leads for active duty detectives in an effort to heat up major crimes that have gone cold, according to a report.

The Cold Case Review Team with the Myrtle Beach Police Department is a group of 20 retired LEOs who’ve joined forces to help MBPD track down new leads in cold cases. James O’Brian is one of the volunteers. He offers more than 30 years of experience at the table of volunteer sleuths. He said the team is available to help active duty detectives who are working heavy caseloads, WMBF reported.

“Sometimes these guys down here get overwhelmed with cases, and they put them aside for the next one and that’s how they get cold. We just look through it and see if we can find something,” said O’Brian.

retired law enforcement officers
James O’Brian (Screenshot WMBF)

The volunteer group is currently focusing on one specific cold case. They’ve spent a majority of their time re-visiting the crime scene hoping to find new leads.

As the team develops new information, they pass it off to detectives for further follow-up investigation.

James Normile is another volunteer with the group. He said their diversity is a strength when analyzing cold cases, according to WMBF.

“We all come from different sides, departments, different agencies, different types of investigators, so bringing that pool of people together you have a good group of solid investigators that can always add something. So, all of us coming together gives a couple of different views on how to look at an investigation,” said Normile.

James Mormile
James Mormile (Screenshot WMBF)

When Normile was active duty, he spent 10 years working a murder investigation that went cold, so he knows how important it is to resolve these cases for families.

“You hate to see any case stay open. The families deserve closure, and if us sitting here looking over something that might’ve been missed or just a different perspective on looking at something to help the detectives close the case, that’s what you want to see happen,” said Normile.

To be considered for the Cold Case Review Team, you have to be a retired law enforcement officer with at least three years of investigative experience preferably in violent crime investigations. Moreover, volunteers must be willing to meet at least once a month with the team.

retired law enforcement officers
(Screenshot WMBF)

Normile notes there is always information out there and anyone can help close a cold case, the news outlet report.

“You hope when people have information, they don’t discount it. They’re better off calling in and speaking to a detective or let the detective make a determination if that information is viable or not, but you don’t want people to feel like they don’t want to call in and give information,” he said.

Although the Cold Case Review Team originally began in 2013, they suspended meetings in 2020 due to COVID-19. They re-launched their investigative efforts earlier this year and the team meets monthly at the Myrtle Beach Police Department Annex.


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