Williamson Co. Sheriff Enlists Help of Retired Officers to Crack Cold Cases

WILLIAMSON COUNTY, Texas -- Once a criminal case goes cold, the chances of solving it become slim. But Williamson County's Sheriff was not willing to let that happen, that's why he's calling on the region's most experienced law enforcement officers to help.

It's a promise Sheriff Robert Chody couldn't break.

"We have family members who need answers and deserve answers," he said.

Chody wants to make progress on crimes that have gone cold.

"We wanted to experiment, per se, to see if there's another way to answer that demand without putting more stress on the current detectives that I have that are answering calls now," he said.

Chody invited retired law enforcement officers to join their cold case volunteer squad, where they will re-investigate 11 unsolved cases dating back from 1979. Those crimes include the 1979 “orange socks” case and Rachel Cooke’s disappearance in 2002.

"When you talk about investigations, it takes a special skill set. It's not something you can get somebody out of the academy. It takes special experience, somebody who has been there and done that," said Chody.

Texas Municipal Police Association's Kevin Lawrence retired after 22 years on duty. But he said he wouldn’t hesitate in taking up the badge again.

"I got to tell you, if I didn't have another job right now, if I was retired and not busy I'd volunteer to help out,” he said. "As an old detective, I can tell you those are the things that nag at you the most."

The squad is completely voluntary, which means these retired officers will be working for free. But both the sheriff and law enforcement advocates said that wouldn't keep retirees from signing up.

"Cops as a whole have a servant's heart, even once we retire, we still want to serve. We still want to help our communities. So, I don't think he'll have any trouble finding volunteers to man that taskforce," Lawrence said.

While it's hard to guarantee that these cases will be solved during his tenure, Chody said the additional manpower and experience would bring the crimes closer to closure.

"Justice needs to be served, first of all, and two, we need to give closure to families for their loved ones. At least give them some reassurance that we're trying," he said.

Sheriff Chody has received dozens of resumes but he said he needs more people to apply. If you're a retired law enforcement officer and want to help, e-mail the sheriff directly at rchody@wilco.org.

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