Our nation’s local law enforcement agencies are in crisis. Elements of contemporary culture began demonizing American police in earnest following the death of an individual being detained by police in 2020. Protest groups, media figures, and politicians demanded that police departments be defunded and, in many cases, disbanded and replaced with ambiguous and often abstract conceptions of policing. Many cities and counties responded to political and social pressure by drastically cutting the budgets of their local law enforcement agencies. Now, nearly three years later, our country’s police officers, sheriff’s deputies and federal agents are understandably demoralized, feeling as though they have been abandoned by the jurisdictions they work for and the communities they have sworn to serve.
Staffing issues plague agencies both large and small. LAPD reports being 800 sworn officers below authorized strength. A July, 2022 story covered by a local news channel details the resignation of the entire police force of Springfield, Colorado. Media outlets routinely describe the veritable flood of senior police officers who are opting to resign or retire rather than expose themselves and their families to the vilification of their chosen profession.
Against this backdrop, crime is rising nationwide and local agencies, particularly in small towns and rural counties, are ill-equipped to counter it. As senior officers and investigators leave their departments at a record pace, new resources and creative approaches are needed to ensure that major criminal cases get the attention and expertise required to solve them and bring criminal offenders to justice. The Retired Investigators Guild (RIG) was created to give small to mid-size law enforcement agencies help when they need it most; when the scope of a major investigation exceeds the experience and expertise of the responsible jurisdiction.
In addition to helping with active case investigations, the RIG has amassed a core group of some of the nation's top cold case investigators. These specialized experts are uniquely qualified to help address one of the most vexing challenges confronting communities across America: More than 200,000 murders and other major crimes are classified as cold cases and fewer than 18% of our law enforcement agencies have a dedicated cold case unit. That's 200,000 families that have very little hope of ever knowing the fate of a lost loved one and will likely never see justice done for the crimes committed against them. RIG investigators are committed to changing this equation. And we're going to do it in a way that helps restore the faith in our law enforcement agencies that has been so badly shaken by the Defund movement.
A disproportionally large number of cold cases involve victims from traditionally underserved communities. The RIG will address this issue by committing that 50% of the cold cases it accepts will involve victims from those communities. To us, every case is equally important and we are resolved that no barrier, be it race, religion, language, culture, social status or the lack thereof will prevent us from using every available resource to help in solving every cold case we accept.
With the ongoing hollowing out of American law enforcement agencies, there is a third vital area that the RIG will help with: Training. Our team includes some of the finest instructors in the country. They are all recognized experts in the specialized fields relating to homicide, cold case, and major crimes investigation. The instructors will teach courses online, on demand, and in-person to help small and mid-sized law enforcement agency detectives acquire the skills needed to work through the complexities of major case investigations.
Collectively, through active case support, cold case support, and specialized training, the RIG will help rebuild our nation's ability to ensure the safety and security of all our communities. And, as a registered nonprofit organization, we'll do it at no cost to the law enforcement agencies we are helping.
Please help us to help those who have sworn to protect and serve by donating to the RIG today.
The Retired Investigators Guild is a registered 501(c)3.