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Detective Roddy talks about the challenges his small-town police force faced when tasked with solving the brutal murder of a man in a local park. The crime shocked his small Scottish community and changed the way his police department viewed marginalized communities and social media.  

The Detective:  
Detective Roddy retired from Tayside Police in Scotland in 2014 after 33 years of service. He spent most of his career in the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) and at every rank, from Detective Constable to Detective Chief Superintendent. Tayside comprises 3 counties and has about 2000 officers and staff. Roddy started in Perth and Kinross, a county with a population of 175,000, where he lives. The county is predominantly rural comprising the small city of Perth, a number of market towns, good farmland, and good people. Since retiring, he has worked for the local council in Community Safety.

Read Transcript

Yeardley [00:00:02] Hey, Small Town Fam. I am thrilled to tell you that this is another episode from retired Detective Chief Superintendent Roddy, from Scotland, who a couple of weeks ago gave us Keep Digging. I remember listening to Roddy lay out both of his cases, in fact, and thinking, “If true crime could be elegant, Roddy makes it so.” You’ll also notice as I welcome him back in the real-time intro of this episode, that he says, “Well, it’s only been five minutes,” [chuckles] and that’s because whenever we ask a guest to give up their day off, or time they’d rather be spending with their family or golfing or walking the dog or whatever, we try to get a couple of cases with them in one session, just so that we maximize their very valuable time with us. So, without further ado, let’s get to it.

Roddy [00:01:05] When we talk about rural investigators, little detectives, in the big cities, they’ve got resources coming out their ears, they can throw another team at it, they can throw all the resources and all that, I think we rural detectives have a real sense of protecting our place.

Yeardley When a serious crime is committed in a small town, a handful of detectives are charged with solving the case. I’m Yeardley, and I’m fascinated by these stories. I invited my friends, Detectives Dan and Dave, to help me gather the best true crime cases from around the country and have the men and women who investigated them, tell us how it happened.

Dan [00:01:52] I’m Dan.

Dave [00:01:53] I’m Dave. We’re identical twins from Small Town, USA.

Dan [00:01:57] Dave investigated sex crimes and crimes against children. He’s now a patrol sergeant at his police department.

Dave [00:02:03] Dan investigated violent crimes. He’s now retired. Together, we have more than two decades’ experience and have worked hundreds of cases. We’ve altered names, places, relationships, and certain details in these cases to maintain the privacy of the victims and their families.

Dan [00:02:18] We ask you to join us in protecting their true identities, as well as the locations of these crimes out of respect for everyone involved. Thank you.

Yeardley [00:02:38] Today on Small Town Dicks, we have the usual suspects. We have Detective Dave.

Dave: [00:02:44] Hello, Yeardley.

Yeardley: [00:02:45] Hello, David.

Dave: [00:02:46] I’m happy to be here.

Yeardley: [00:02:47] I’m happy that you’re here. We have Detective Dan.

Dan: [00:02:50] Hello, team.

Yeardley: [00:02:51] Hello, team you. And Small Town Fam, we are so thrilled to welcome back a new guest to the podcast, fan favorite for us already, retired Detective Chief Superintendent Roddy.

Roddy: [00:03:07] Hello. Nice to be back. I don’t know if other people know, I’ve only been away for five minutes, but I’ve been away—(laughter)

Roddy: [00:03:13] And been refreshed. Gotten to the restroom as you suggested, Yeardley. I don’t know whether you could see that, I was starting to shift uncomfortably in my chair, but that was good advice. I discovered that my wife had been baking whilst I’d been in here, and I’m now tucking into a large chunk of millionaire shortbread, which is my very favorite.

Yeardley: [00:03:33] Yes, please.

Roddy: [00:03:34] It’s quite delicious. I’m rejuvenated in many ways.

Yeardley: [00:03:37] This is such a thrill for us.

Roddy: [00:03:39] Well, I think you’re probably slightly overstating that but–

(laughter)

Roddy: [00:03:43] It’s much more thrilling for me becauseas I’m nowretired, getting the opportunity to bang on about old cases is quite exciting because none of my children listen.

(laughter)

Roddy: [00:03:54] Other than when we go out on a golf outing, we get together and talk drivel about old cases and reinvent our expertise. We never make any mistakes when we’re reminiscing, I know it.

(laughter)

Dan: [00:04:07] That is so true.

Yeardley: [00:04:08] I hope that we can bring the team over to Scotland and actually meet you because now of course we’re meeting over Zoom.

Roddy: [00:04:13] Well, it’d be fantastic if you could come over. It’s lovely. I know a couple of you have been to Edinburgh before but you’ve missed the joys of the peril that is Perth. Clearly, whoever was organizing your tours neglected to point out the peril of Perth, so we would be very pleased to welcome you here.

Yeardley: [00:04:31] Thank you. [laughs] That kind of neglect will not be repeated.

Roddy: [00:04:35] Well, it’s forgivable, but not forgettable.

(laughter)

Yeardley: [00:04:39] Understood. While we love the banter, we could just chat with you over millionaire shortbread all day, Roddy, our fans, unlike your children apparently have come for some true crime. So, please tell us how this case came to you.

Roddy: [00:04:57] Okay, this case relates to the previous one I was talking about, because it happened all around about the same time. This is quite a short case, but again, there’s a real emphasis on luck. I’ve always considered myself a lucky detective, a lucky investigator. The last case I talked about took years to conclude, and this one just took a couple of days. While we were working on the previous case, we had another murder. We had Stuart’s case, the long-term murder investigation, then we had another one, which was complicated. Somebody had been lying for a number of days, he had sustained injuries and had succumbed to them in his own house. So, we didn’t even know where the location of the murder was. There were no witnesses.

[00:05:41] By this time, the complicated murder that we’re dealing with, we’d already worked 24 hours straight. So, we also had these two cases running, I got a phone call in the middle of the night, and they said, “You’re going to need to come out. We’ve got a body lying in a park and it look suspicious.” This park is called The Inch. We have two Inches in Perth, the North Inch and the South Inch, which are all common grazing areas, big areas of grassland, which are now public parks. One of these parks, the South Inch has got a boating pond, and it’s got kids’ swings and things like that there. I drag myself out of my bed, headed out and I’ve got no resources to call out because they’ve all been working the same hours I’ve been working, and it’s all the same detectives. There’s no huge well that we could go to constantly to refresh them. It’s just me, and I don’t mean to try and get sympathy by saying that, just that was the way it was.

Yeardley: [00:06:37] It paints a great picture, though, how easily a small department can be taxed.

Roddy: [00:06:42] Yeah. we were tired. We were really tired. I went off down there and found a man lying on a path with some pretty severe head injuries. It’s an asphalt path with breakages, and I’m hoping that he’s fallen, and he’s cracked his head.

Yeardley: As opposed to this being a homicide.

Roddy: [00:07:05] Exactly, but I’ve got a bad feeling about it.

Yeardley: [00:07:10] Do you have an identity of this victim?

Roddy: [00:07:13] Yeah, he’s called James. We secure the scene. We call out forensics. James is taken off to Dundee where the mortuary is. I got on the phone to my neighboring division. I said, “We are completely strapped. I need a loan of two detectives to go down to Dundee and go to the postmortem for me and find out what the story is with James.” We had the complicated murder that we’re dealing with, we have somebody in custody who we’ve had in since the mid-week, and by the time we’re on the weekend, there was a lot of loose ends to tie up. I needed the team to focus on that complicated one and not get distracted by another one.

[00:07:50] The next day, we worked away at that all day, and at 6 o’clock or so, we’re sitting down for the debrief for the day’s activities, and the two guys from the neighboring division come in, in the middle of the briefing. I say, “Okay, give us an update on the death overnight.” The words you don’t want to hear, “Yep, sorry. Definitely a murder.” James has been kicked to death. He’s got injuries all over his body that you couldn’t see because he’s fully clothed. He’s had a really severe beating. We know who he is, but we don’t really know much about James. He’s a middle-aged man, single man who works for the council.

Yeardley: [00:08:29] What’s the council?

Roddy: [00:08:31] All the public services, from social work to childcare to collect the bins, education.

Yeardley: [00:08:38] Oh, like city works, like public works?

Roddy: [00:08:40] Yeah, city hall, city works. Yep, all that stuff comes together, that’s the council. So, James worked there in a pretty junior position. He had a nice little flat, extraordinarily tidy. He’s a real clean freak. This was a guy nobody noticed, really. We know that he’s a quiet man. He’s not a guy that much is known about by his colleagues or his neighbors. He is a guy who keeps himself to himself.

One of the interesting things about that area of the park is that it is really well known for being an area which is used by homosexuals for cruising and gay sex. We know this, obviously, and that very early in our thinking becomes a consideration of what the motive for this attack may be. And we are sitting, starting to crank up that investigation and starting to put the remains of the previous investigation on ice till we see what we’re going to do with this. We get the break. The bit of luck that, to be honest, we desperately need to because we’re all exhausted.

[00:09:43] A lady comes into the office and says that her daughter overheard somebody that she knows in the queue at the chip shop, do you know what a chip shop is?

Yeardley: [00:09:53] Is that where you get fish and chips?

Roddy: [00:09:56] That’s exactly. Yeah, you get fish and chips.

Yeardley: [00:09:58] Okay. (chuckles)

Roddy: [00:09:59] So, she’s in the queue at the chip shop, and she overhears somebody that she knows from school talking about a guy that gets murdered on the Inch. Now, we haven’t released anything about somebody being murdered, other than police are investigating a sudden death on the Inch. It’s not being widely broadcast, so how would she know?

Yeardley: [00:10:20] And how old is this girl?

Roddy: [00:10:22] She’s 14-15, something like that. I looked around the team who are all sitting with their heads down, trying to avoid my case. I say, “Right. You need to go and get her.” She tells us the story. She names the girl who she overheard, and a few issues getting a straight story from her because she’s frightened to tell us. And then we send another pair up to see her, who told her and it’s all revolved around this group. It’s the first ever case that I was involved in where social media was a fact. We didn’t really know anything about social media. This was Bebo, and I don’t know if you remember Bebo, but Bebo was an American social network and used not on smartphones, but it was on computer. So, home computers, that was a precursor to Facebook and a lot. MySpace was around the same time, but MySpace was more of almost like you had your own little website, whereas Bebo was much more like a social network.

Yeardley: [00:11:26] This is sort of they can have a chat room on this Bebo?

Roddy: [00:11:30] Yeah, that kind of thing. Of course, I don’t think any of us have heard of Bebo. Some of our kids had, but we hadn’t. This group of young people, they were all talking about this murder on Bebo. We were taking photographs of screens, and trying to track down who was who. We didn’t have access to that on our computer, because that may have been a breach of our security protocols. We were going to houses, knocking on doors, getting statements, looking in kids’ bedrooms that had Bebo on their home computers, taking photographs of it, to be later developed, because we couldn’t develop them instantaneously and scribbling down what it said, bringing it back, pulling people in. We had a procession of young people came in to be interviewed.

[00:12:217] It was one of the most effective uses of whiteboards. We had big whiteboards on the walls. I’ve always been a lover of a whiteboard. In fact, if you look behind me, I’m one day working from home, and I was feeling despondent about the lack of a whiteboard, you could track my progress by every office that I’d ever occupied been covered in whiteboards. I’d be like the Beautiful Mind with Russell Crowe. That’s what my offices all looked like with all my scribblings in that room. When I started to work from home, I had to start off, I’ve got one old map behind me with post-its on it. It looks like my plans for the world domination. Actually, it was my proxy whiteboard with stickers on it. But anyway, my wife was at the shop, and she found me a little whiteboard, so I feel quite comfortable.

Yeardley: [00:12:57] I love it.

Roddy: [00:12:57] We had the whiteboards, and we keep listening to what was happening in the interview rooms as it was happening, so we could get that fed back into the CID office, so we could get real-time intelligence. Gradually, we started to focus in on three characters. One of them was a juvenile, 15-year-old, and two of them, older boys. We got this big team of detectives, and we started tracking some behaviors that had been going on. One of the housing estates of the town, and this 15-year-old was hanging about with them, there was a lot of girls about, lot of showing off. The atmosphere was getting febrile. We’re focusing on these three and probably another two or three of their associates. They all got detained, they all got interviewed. The story that we got was that this youngster, this 15-year-old, claimed that a man, James, had proposition him on the Inch, and he’d gone to get his two older pals who are 20, 21, and said, “This guy’s just tried me on. We’re going to go and sort him.” They went back to the Inch and they beat him to death.

Yeardley: [00:14:35] Hey, Producer Nick.

Nick: [00:14:36] Hey, Yeardley.

Yeardley: [00:14:36] It’s sogood to see you.

Nick: [00:14:38] Thanks for having me back.

Yeardley: [00:14:40] It makes me happy. Speaking of happy, wouldn’t you say you’d do anything for your cat, Chiclet?

Nick: [00:14:46] 100%.

Yeardley: [00:14:47] That includes for me, for Zipper and Petunia, when they wake up at 4 AM and say, “Hey! Breakfast!” but I get up and I do it and then I go back to bed.

Nick: [00:14:57] I’m the same way, all day. It doesn’t matter what time, it’s cat o’clock.

Yeardley: [00:15:01] Cat o’clock. (chuckles) One of the amazing things that we do for our cats is we fill the litter box with PrettyLitter because PrettyLitter, it’s the best litter for your cat. It changes color to detect early signs of potential illness, including urinary tract infections and kidney issues. Boo to those.

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Yeardley: [00:15:27] Incredible and they’re pink. I love that those crystals are pink.

Nick: [00:15:31] It’s a nice touch. Plus, PrettyLitter arrived safely at my door in a small lightweight bag, and if you’re like me who lives in an apartment complex, that is clutch!

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Yeardley: [00:16:06] (meow)

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Yeardley: [00:16:07] So good!

Dave: [00:16:34] So, pretty clear that those three after they commit this crime, they didn’t do a very good job of keeping it to themselves, and all of a sudden, it’s on social media, and the tail is growing, and you guys are like, “Oh, I know which three we need to talk to.”

Roddy: [00:16:49] Exactly. As we gathered all this information, witness statements, how we managed it was a really simple methodology. Once we knew who our suspects were, we had different colors on the whiteboard if we have more than one source that proves that fact and we got corroboration, because there was so much activity going on around the actual murder with lots of different people who are not there at the time, but who had heard things and knew things, and it then spilled over once they go home on to Bebo where they were communicating with each other. Of course, some of it was exaggerated, some of it was untrue. So, we had to pick our way through all of that evidence based on all the stuff on Bebo, all of the statements that we were getting for these young people who mostly were terrified at being brought into a police station with their parents and parents didn’t know anything about all the things that they’d been involved in. It was chaos in the town.

Dave: [00:17:42] This sounds like a fast paced, you guys are gathering information, finding new names that you need to bring into the station. When you finally land on the three, the 15-year-old and his two associates, do they come into the police station around at the same time? Do they see each other there? Are you guys playing each participant off of the other based on the information they’re giving?

Roddy: [00:18:03] Yeah, exactly that.

Dave: [00:18:06] When you said it was the 15-year-old who then goes and scouts out or recruits his two partners to come help him commit this crime, that by itself kind of shocks the conscience that it’s the 15-year-old typically who would be a follower joining this group to say, “I’m building my reputation,” or “I’m part of the team,” or whatever perverted team factor they have going on there, but I’m just curious how that interaction went with those three, and who was the first to crack.

Roddy: [00:18:36] They didn’t say very much at all, but we built up a case around about it with this, as you characterized it, this fast-moving investigation, and the evidence was built around about them from that which they’d said, and sightings and witnesses and Bebo.

Dave: [00:18:53] So, these three suspects, they’re aware of the reputation this particular park has probably at night especially.

Roddy: [00:19:02] Yep.

Dave: [00:19:03] So, did they go they’re specifically looking for trouble and that James happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time talking to the wrong people?

Roddy: [00:19:12] The young guy, the 15-year-old, he lived nearby. He lived in an area which effectively borders on the park. It’s a small town, so they were all running about that area and he had for some reason, got separated. There had been a fallout of some kind between the three of them and the 15-year-old had ended up on his own. Whether this is a way of getting him back on the inside with the older guys or whatever it was, whether there was some kind of proposition made, we don’t know. But I think this 15-year-old used this as a way to get back in the good books of his elders, or whatever warped thinking was involved in it. He’s a very troubled young man.

Yeardley: [00:19:57] So, those three boys, the 15-year-old and the two older ones in their early 20s, were they well known to law enforcement already?

Roddy: [00:20:05] Yeah, they were well known, families known, and it was a surprise that they would have done such a thing, because it was so awful, but they were kids who were used to being in trouble.

Dave: [00:20:19] And James, on the other hand, is a guy who’s a productive, quiet member of society who just wants to live his life and not bother anybody.

Roddy: [00:20:27] Yeah, it’s just a totally decent, quiet man. It doesn’t matter whether he was cruising for gay sex, whether he wasn’t, whatever it was, it’s an appalling crime. James was attacked, because they perceived that he was a homosexual, it was a homophobic crime. It was shocking, I mean shocking for us in Perth. On top of all the other things that were shocking us at this time, this was horrific, that somebody would be beaten to death purely because of his perceived sexuality. That really shook us to the core, and made us reach out to the LGBT community locally, who were terrified of this development, and really gave us an opportunity to engage a community that to be honest, we didn’t really know much about. We did have some links into a sort of organized LGBT community at force level, but locally, nothing at all. It was felt that was the kind of place it was living my life and to find this kind of prejudice, it could lead to this kind of behavior, this kind of violent, violent crime, was really shocking to us.

[00:21:40] The council, the police, all the partners in community safety and justice were horrified by this. Of course, this is our town portrayed in the national press, in this way, homophobic, as a city (unintelligible) well-to-do, conservative with a small (unintelligible) type of place, and for this kind of crime to visit itself on us was really horrific. The ramifications of it were really significant and it led to commentary in UK national papers about how could this happen. It became, for a while, (unintelligible) and we were at the center of not something we were used to be in, in our small town. We put on a huge community impact assessment, which would look at the effect that this is likely to have beyond the investigation, beyond the crime itself. We were involved in that for a long number of weeks and months after that, leading right up to the trial, where we are having to provide real reassurance and working really closely with the LGBT community to make sure that it was clear to them that whatever happened and whatever these three people had done, that wasn’t what we were about or the town was about, and that the police service and parents were standing shoulder to shoulder with them, and discussed why it happened.

[00:22:59] When we talk about rural investigators, rural detectives, in the big cities, they’ve got resources coming out of their ears. They can throw yet another team at it, they can throw all the resources and all that, I think we rural detectives have a real sense of protecting our place, and everybody in our place, all the people that were affected by it, James’ elderly mother and people who were from a gay community. It was a really good example for me of how a community needs to come together after something like that, and make sure that the pain is not long lasting, and that you heal as much as you can. You won’t heal it for his mother, you won’t heal it for him, he’s dead, but you can start to heal the impact on your communities. There was a lot of really, really good work done by our community cops, and a lot of work done by our specialists who were already working with the gay community.

[00:23:58] As the detective chief inspector in my town, I was horrified that there was a whole group of people who felt completely unprotected, and I didn’t know people who felt they didn’t have a place they could go to if they were afraid. We put in a lot of contingencies around about that, which exists to this day to make sure that we don’t lose sight of any of our communities, and that there are remote reporting so we will take reports from people as intelligence reports, we’ll record them as crimes, and we will investigate them as best we can without exposing their identity, but making sure that we tackle what’s happening, even if it doesn’t lead to a court case because of the vulnerability of the witnesses.

Yeardley: [00:24:45] That’s amazing. I love that.

Yeardley: [00:25:08] Hey, Producer Nick.

Nick: [00:25:09] Hey, Yeardley.

Yeardley: [00:25:10] I want to talk about grove.co.

Nick: Ooh, what’s that?

Yeardley: [00:25:13] Grove Collaborative is an online marketplace that delivers natural home, beauty, and personal care products directly to your door, and they’re great. I think all of us are trying to help Mother Earth out. One of the things I’m a big fan of are Grove’s beeswax wraps.

Nick: [00:25:28] Tell me more.

Yeardley: [00:25:30] They’re cloth, and they’re covered in beeswax. They’re also washable and reusable. The way you use them is whenever you have a bowl of leftovers or condiments or whatever, the warmth of your hands molds the beeswax around the bowl. That way, you don’t have to use any single-use plastic bags. It’s good for Mother Earth.

Nick: [00:25:47] Sounds like a step in the right direction.

Yeardley: [00:25:50] I also love Grove’s cleaning concentrate, where you have a little 2-ounce bottle, you just add water, and 2 ounces becomes 16.

Nick: [00:25:57] Need that. So, Grove is a site for thousands of home beauty and personal care products, all guaranteed to be good for you, your family, your home, and the planet, just like you said.

Yeardley: [00:26:07] That’s what I’m saying.

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Yeardley: [00:26:10] (laughs) Just go to Grove Collaborative and get all the natural goods you need for you and your family.

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Roddy: [00:27:19] So, it was a short case and in many ways, an easy case to investigate. By the time we got to– I don’t know, it must have been, I don’t know, must have been pushing on to teatime again the next day, we were pretty much there. We had enough evidence to charge all three boys. We went to court and they pled guilty.

Dave: [00:27:40] In your court system, are they offered the chance to give a statement of remorse or whatever they have to say about the case? Are they able to proffer something to the court?

Roddy: [00:27:53] Yeah, if they want.

Dave: [00:27:54] And did these three?

Roddy: [00:27:56] No.

Dave: [00:27:56] No remorse?

Roddy: [00:27:57] No, they told the story as they’d done it and their defense advocates would provide an account of what they’d done, but we had an embarrassment of riches of forensic evidence. We had shoes with blood on them, we had shoe patterns on the victim, as you would imagine, in a case, which is spontaneous, it’s is not preplanned, it’s just done, because they were over control, there’s no forensic awareness. Forensically, it was completely open-and-shut case, and that would be ultimately what would lead to them pleading guilty. The two adults, the primary one got 16 years in prison. The second one got nine years who had been less involved. The 15-year-old goes into a different system altogether. So, they don’t get a sentence per se, but those are long sentences in Scotland. It’s a simple little case. The reason I tell is because it changed me as an investigator.

Yeardley: [00:28:55] How?

Roddy: [00:28:56] It made me think differently about social media, very clearly different about how we needed to get into that arena, because to characterize it at that time, the internet and social media was like the Wild West. It was frontier. People were able to do what they wanted there because there was no supervision and people are driving into the unknown, it was completely free. Then, you start to get to the point where people are putting stockades up, so they’re starting to think, “We need to protect ourselves, so we’re going to start having our own firewalls and we’re going to have security systems and stuff like that around about us,” by the (unintelligible) policing in there’s no civil society in this new community. And gradually, you start to think, well, as police, we are going to need to become part of that because when you have any community, once it becomes civilized, you need patrol, you need oversight, and you need engagement. Then you need to then build on that consensus, the consent of the community. It made me really, really think about how we needed to change the way we did our business to start and police the virtual community in exactly the same way through consent that we did any other community we would come across.

So, that totally changed the way I was thinking as an investigator, and as a police officer as well. We’re still not there. We see some of the oversights coming in and we’ve got lot of cases where Google and Facebook are having to account for some of the things they’re doing. What we haven’t got yet is to say that that patrol activity needs to be overt, visible, uniformed patrol so that people can drop in and see you and make sure you feel safe. I think that’s an inevitability with regulation, will have to come the engagement, will have to come the patrol, and will have to come those protective services. I’m not sure what they look like, but it really changed my thinking.

Yeardley: [00:30:59] Dan or Dave, do you feel the same?

Dan: [00:31:01] I do. I think it’s a balancing act. We have the First Amendment here in the United States. People don’t want to be censored online, but at the same time, Google and Facebook and a lot of these other apps, and apps that we haven’t even thought of yet, are going to appear on the horizon. Facebook, Google, they don’t set out to be a hunting ground for predators and people who want to victimize others. That’s not their intent. But criminals will take advantage of opportunities in front of them, and I think it’s a great idea for there to be an online presence, so people know at least that it’s being looked at.

Roddy: [00:31:42] Yeah. Another thing that really struck me was that how much do you really know about your own place. Even when your job is to know about your own place, there’s things that still surprise you, and you have to keep an open mind on what may be going on there that you’re just not aware of. One of the big feelings of intelligence, to my mind, is this idea that intelligence officers start to assume that all that’s going on is what they know about, and not recognizing that there’s a huge world out there that they don’t know enough about. It goes back to good old Donald Rumsfeld, and as we know what we know, and we know what we don’t know, and people mock that, but it’s as good an explanation of what intelligence is as I’ve probably heard, I can lay a level beingexplained to people, because that’s exactly what it is, we don’t know what we don’t know. And that is something that as investigators, we always have to keep at the forefront of our mind, that there’s always something we don’t know, and we don’t know that we don’t know it. That’s where the surprises come.

Dave: [00:32:43] We say it on this podcast all the time. Every time you think that I’ve seen everything in this job, or I’ve dealt with every situation, honestly, within a day or a week or a month, the job reminds you with a big smack in the face that you’re getting complacent and you’re way too arrogant about your skill, your knowledge, your intelligence and your level of where you’re at in your career. The job always reminds you.

Roddy: [00:33:07] Yes, you’ve forgotten that you’re an idiot. I’m going to tell you once more now. (laughter)

Roddy: [00:33:13] Every so often, we used to get somebody come through the door saying, “Boss, you’re not going to like this.” You’ll have a look and see who’s saying it, and if it’s the right person, you think, “Oh, no, this is going to be hellish.” Whatever he’s going to say next is going to be a disaster. The joy of investigation is (unintelligible) as it lands on your desk, because you’ve got nothing else to do but get on with. This case was a real learningexperience for me, and for all of us. It was exciting, we investigated a crime while you were on this ticking clock. Not really, because there was any actual legal clock ticking, but because the team are done, they had it, they were completely exhausted, and the only way to keep it going and get where we had to get was to just keep it going, keep it going, keep it going, keep it going on the adrenaline of the investigation, to get to a point where we were satisfied that we had enough evidence.

Dave: [00:34:07] That’s probably the thing that I miss the most about the job. Instances like this where the pace is so fast. And I miss being with my brother.

Roddy: [00:34:17] Yeah. I spoke to a guy who I got friendly with when I was working in London, and he was a Detective Superintendent, a real highflyer out from City of London Fraud Squad. It’s a big job and half of the City of London police, which is a really small force, that only deals with the square mile in the middle. There’s about thousand in them, and half of them are in the fraud squad. This guy had got headhunted by the Royal Bank of Scotland to come and be their security bloke. I used to do some writing for him investigative skills and developing investigative strategies for his investigators within the Royal Bank of Scotland, which always included a very nice dinner, and no fee.

Yeardley: [00:34:59] (laughs)

Roddy: [00:35:00] It was lovely. I was out with him for a pint and we have a chat. I say, “When do you have to make your decision, because you’ve taken it as a leave of absence?” and he was coming up to the end of three years. I say, “You must be really well set up because you’re getting paid a fortune by the Royal Bank of Scotland.” He says, “I’m not sure.” I’m like, “You daft?” He says, “Roddy, I’m really not sure.” I said, “Why on earth not?” And it was exactly the reason that you talked about, Dan. He says, “Well, you don’t realize is the joy and the sheer camaraderie and fun being part of something in these kinds of circumstances, when you’re all combined for the single objective working together, everybody’s got these different skills, see that doesn’t happen in the corporate world. If something goes wrong in the Royal Bank of Scotland, they’ll just rush about and try to blame each other for what went wrong. There’s not that sense of this huge team effort of collaboration and commitment.” You know what’s like in the police, everybody squabbles, the traffic guys fall out with the CID and the CID fall out with the beat cops, and (unintelligible) like that.

(laughter)

Roddy: [00:36:05] Until something happens, and then you get this massive team thing that develops. He says, “I miss that so much. I’m thinking of packing it, and not picking the big money.” I was quite impressed. He didn’t, of course, he took the money.

(laughter)

Roddy: [00:36:22] That would have been a better story if he’d said like, “No, I have packed, I’ve gone back there,” but he didn’t. He took the money. But he hit the nail on the head, that sense of collectivism, that sense of common purpose is a joy you don’t find everywhere.

Yeardley: [00:36:37] Yeah.

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Dan: [00:38:56] Here’s something else that I want to point out. When you talked about you going to the park yourself, this is at the beginning of the story. You guys are dealing with this other homicide, all your detectives have been grinding for hours and days. You get the call in the middle of the night and you’re sleeping, and you don’t make a phone call and call one of your more junior investigators. You go out yourself. That’s what leaders do. I recognize that.

Dave: [00:39:27] Taking care of your people, “These guys need to rest. Let me go handle this. If it turns into nothing, then great. I hope I don’t have to call other people out, but let me handle this myself.”

Dan: [00:39:37] And to just think about the last moments of James’ life.

Yeardley: Argh.

Dan: [00:39:42] How horrible that must have been.

Roddy: [00:39:44] You can’t, and you don’t want to. It’s just awful.

Dave: [00:39:49] Yeah. In these cases that we worked, that’s one of the things that I could always draw on, when maybe you’re tired or whatever, all I had to do is think about the last moments of this person’s life and say, “That’s just not okay.”

Yeardley: [00:40:06] Right, tired is nothing.

Dave: [00:40:07] Yeah, so what I’m tired? What about this person? I bet they wish they were tired right now.

Roddy: [00:40:12] Yeah.

Yeardley: [00:40:12] Sure.

Roddy: [00:40:13] That’s interesting. I never thought like that as a motivation. That’s interesting.

Yeardley: [00:40:18] Yeah. Roddy, would you say that being in law enforcement or would you say that your wife would say your being in law enforcement has changed you?

Roddy: [00:40:28] Oh, goodness me. I don’t know. She’s always known me in law enforcement. So, I don’t know. I think probably she would say– hope she’s not listening in. (laughter)

Roddy: [00:40:41] I think she would say it’s who I am. She would sometimes complain about the hours and the absences and the unreliability, but I think– I wouldn’t want to speak for her, but I don’t think she would want any other way. I think she’s glad enough I don’t do anymore. (laughter)

Roddy: [00:41:03] But it did impact on her life, there’s no doubt about, and it made her life pretty lonely at times, and it made that difficult, and I never spoke about my work at home. She didn’t really want to hear it, other than a funny story, but not the cases, not other business. She was a teacher, and occasionally our lives would bump into each other. It’s just what we did. Did it change me? Of course, it must have. It must have. It must have changed me. I’m not sufficiently self-aware to recognize what particular aspects– (laughter)

Roddy: [00:41:38] (crosstalk) -crossing my arms (unintelligible) get to me.

Yeardley: [00:41:44] Yes, you’re doing that thing that suspects do.

Roddy: [00:41:46] It’s obviously a good question. An interesting thing, I was one time, I had to do one of these personality tests and things, it was for an advancement. You had to fill in this very complicated thing and they ask you hundreds of questions, which you’ve got to tick off very quickly. I was at work. I was kind of doing it at the same time as doing work. Then, when I started ticking all these boxes about how you would feel about this and how you feel about that, I filled it all and then it went away to the people who do the analysis on these things. It came back, and I was reading this analysis of my personality. I handed it over to Dawn and I said, “Look.” She said, “That’s nothing like you.” I said, “No, I didn’t think it was like me,” She said, “Horrible.”

(laughter)

Roddy: I went back to the people, and I said I think there’s been some mistake, you’ve picked some horrible person and given me theirs. [crosstalk] And the nice me, it was glorying in the fact that they’re a nice person. They said, “Well, do it again, but this time don’t do it at your work.” I did it and it came back very different. I started to think about it. And you know what I thought, it was because I did it when I was at work, and whilst I was working, I think what it demonstrated, I had a lot of learnt behaviors, which probably affected me. So, you see had I changed by being in law enforcement, I don’t know if I changed, but at work, maybe I was a different person.

Yeardley: [00:43:12] It makes sense that you would adapt certain ways of carrying yourself through the day at work that would be different than when you’re at home with the family. I know that Dan and Dave, they carry with them a suspicion, just a general suspicion of the world that both of you have said you didn’t have before you became cops. It’s because every time you leave your house, pretty much anybody you’re going to encounter who is doing something they’re not supposed to do is going to lie to you. Your day comprises so much more lying than my day ever, than my year, by and large. How does that not set you up to have that kind of expectation when you encounter somebody you don’t know who doesn’t necessarily want to talk to you? Your assumption is, “I will not be surprised if the first thing out of your mouth is not the truth.” For a layperson, for civilian like me, I don’t expect that when I meet people I don’t know.

Roddy: [00:44:12] Maybe you should suspect that they may not be telling the truth.

(laughter)

Yeardley: [00:44:17] Well, maybe I should. You’re not wrong, Roddy. [laughs] I have learned the hard way in some cases. (laughs)

Roddy: [00:44:25] It’s an interesting world. I’d say that experience of the whole personality test, that did change me because I became really aware maybe this was a problem, and maybe I was behaving differently at work, and maybe that wasn’t very healthy. I don’t know if I changed back again or not and probably maybe some of the people who worked with me, “No, you were just as much of an ass later as you were before that,” but I don’t know. It was an interesting thing to happen.

Yeardley: [00:44:51] This has been amazing. Thank you so much for joining us today. We’re so grateful for your time and for your service.

Roddy: [00:45:00] Well, that’s very nice of you. I have enjoyed all my service and I’ve enjoyed our time together. It’s been fantastic. I’ve really enjoyed it and it has been so nice to meet y’all, including the guys behind the (unintelligible) and who are still listening in who have been an absolute delight. So, it’s been a complete pleasure, and come over, come see us.

Yeardley: [00:45:19] Ah, we will.

Roddy: [00:45:20] We’d love it.

Dave: [00:45:21] Thank you.

Dan: [00:45:21] Take care, Roddy.

Roddy: [00:45:22] Terrific to see you, fellas. Enjoyed talking to you.

(music)

Yeardley: [00:45:32] Small Town Dicks is produced by Gary Scott and Yeardley Smith, and coproduced by Detectives Dan and Dave. This episode was edited by Logan Heftel, Gary Scott, and me, Yeardley Smith. Our associate producers are Erin Gaynor, the Real Nick Smitty, and Alec Cowan. Our music is composed by John Forest. Our editors extraordinaire are Logan Heftel and Soren Begin. Our books are cooked and cats wrangled by Ben Cornwell.

Dan [00:46:02] If you like what you hear and want to stay up to date with the show, visit us on our website at smalltowndicks.com.

Yeardley [00:46:09] Small Town Dicks would like to thank SpeechDocs for providing transcripts of this podcast. You can find these transcripts on our episode page at smalltowndicks.com. For more information about SpeechDocs and their service, please go to speechdocs.com.

Dan [00:46:26] And join the Small Town Fam by following us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter at @smalltowndicks. We love hearing from you.

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Yeardley [00:46:46] That’s right. Your subscription also makes it possible for us to keep going to Small Towns across the country-

Dan [00:46:53] -in search of the finest-

Dave [00:46:54] -rare true crime cases told-

Dan [00:46:56] -as always by the detectives who investigated them.

Dave [00:46:57] Thanks for listening, Small Town fam.

Yeardley [00:47:02] Nobody’s better than you.

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