An Interview with Detective Derning
Question: As a homicide detective, what kind of schedule do you work?
Well, as you can imagine, most murders do not occur during bakers’ hours. Frequently they happen at night, so my hours have to be flexible. Once I arrive at the crime scene, I’m on duty for however long it takes. After my initial assessment, I determine if I need other investigators and I assign them different tasks. I usually inform the family or those closest to the victim and interview them as soon as I can. more. Usually, a homicide detective will spend much more time questioning witnesses and interviewing those connected to the victims and the suspects than with the suspects themselves.
Question: In your experience in Orlando, what percentage of homicide cases get solved, on average?
To be honest, a homicide detective never wants to go home without solving the case. But in reality, we don’t solve cases without the help of the community, and even so, not every homicide case gets solved. But we still work the case even if it isn’t solved. On average, our detectives solve anywhere more than half of the cases we have, although but only half of those are from the current calendar year. The rest are from last year’s cases. We are a very committed group.
Question: How do you handle the emotion when you have to inform a family member that their loved one was murdered?
It never gets any easier, but if we allowed ourselves to break down, we’d never accomplish our work. Becoming emotional in a detective’s line of work is not an asset. It doesn’t mean we don’t care. Of course, we have feelings, but we have to keep them beneath the surface as professionals. Actually, having to do this over the years takes its toll, and the divorce rate in our profession is higher than average. I guess you can’t have it all.