Hello and welcome back.
Today I do an interview with Mitchell Burnlee.
IW – So to start, what got you into policing?
Mitchell – the old cliche, I want to help make the world a better and safer place. This became especially important when my daughters were born.
IW – what would you most like to see happen in your career?
Mitchell – I would like it if as a homicide detective that I would get laid off because there’s no work for me to do.
IW – that would be great.
Mitchell – yeah, but not realistic.
IW – What would you think is the reason someone would murder another human being?
Mitchell – I’ve seen just about everything you could imagine. The oldest reason in the book, some guy wants a girl, her current boyfriend stands in his way, so he kills the boyfriend and offers the girl a comforting shoulder to cry on. And after a year or so he gets the girl. Then loses her when we arrest him.
I’ve seen cases where one spouse murders the other for the life insurance pay out. Then there’s the if I can’t have her no ones going to. Those are the easiest ones to solve.
IW – how so?
Mitchell – we always look at the in-laws before looking at the outlaws. More often than not, someone is murdered by someone they know, than someone they don’t know.
IW – what are some of the strangest, or most bizarre motivations for murder?
Mitchell – the thing you have to understand is that the motive doesn’t have to make sense to you, only to the criminal. There was one case where some guy claimed he was being ordered by aliens to kill homeless people. He said they’d be beamed up to their space ship, reincarnated and able to live a happy life travelling through the stars.
IW – The one who tried to plead insanity?
Mitchell – he certainly tried. The thing with an insanity defense is you have to not know that what you’re doing is wrong when you commit the crime. Every one of them does know, they choose to do what they did.
IW – And what about someone who is the victim of abuse in their childhood?
Mitchell – there’s no denial that being abused in any form is traumatic. You lose the right to cry victim when you victimize others.
IW – What would you say is the most frustrating thing in policing?
Mitchell – I’m not sure there’s any one single thing that is the most frustrating, I can list several. The first being when a criminal gets off on a technicality. You do all kinds of work to nail a guy and a slip up or anything that causes a mistrial.
Then there’s the people who you know committed the crime but they’ve insulated themselves somehow, or people are too scared to testify against them. Eventually we do get them from some sort of mistake on their part or someone does summon up the courage to stand up to them.
Then there’s the people who do the revolving door in and out of prison. The people who through drug addiction or anything else and can’t get their lives turned around.
IW – with regards to people eventually summoning up the courage
Mitchell – most people look after their own best interests first. It’s understandable that with children to think about they don’t want their kids to get killed. A lot of times it’s the reward money that gets someone to build up the courage, other times it’s getting them arrested for a crime and they’re looking at thirty years or more, then they tell us of something they know for a reduced sentence. That’s the looking after their own interests.
IW – on a lighter note, how often do you watch police TV shows and movies.
Mitchell – about five or ten minutes of them when the first episode comes up. It’s like asking a lawyer how they like lawyer shows, or lifeguards how they like Baywatch.
IW – what do you tell people about them that is completely unrealistic?
Mitchell – no crime gets solved in an hour. At least not the ones where the criminal was smart enough not to do it in front of a uniformed police officer. And have you ever seen an interview on a TV show where the cop roughs up the suspect he’s interrogating?
IW – yes.
Mitchell – If a cop were to actually do that, the criminal can confess to killing a hundred people and it would get thrown out in court as a coerced confession.
IW – you alluded to that there have been criminals who have committed a crime in full view of a uniformed police officer, has that actually happened to you before making detective?
Mitchell – a couple times. Once when I was on patrol, we were doing a drug raid at a house. We had three marked police cars in front, with one of them in the drive way. Myself and the other two uniformed police officers were guarding the prisoners in the living room. The plain clothes officers were searching through the house when the doorbell rings. One of the plain clothes answers the door, there were two guys there. They couldn’t see into the living room where we were, but they could clearly see the marked police cars in front and one in the driveway.
One of the guys says, “We’d like to buy some cocaine.”
The detective at the door says, “Yeah sure, come on in.”
When we arrested them we asked how they didn’t notice the marked police cars in front of the house and they said they didn’t know we were in this house.
The other time, I, along with three other cops in uniform, with our patrol cars parked outside, were in a coffee shop at the counter ordering our coffee when some guy enters in, pulls out a knife and yells out demanding everyone’s money.
That case was pretty much solved in one minute.
And that concludes the character interview with Mitchell Burnlee. To check out his exploits with his partner Detective Cruze, check out the book below: