Written by Hank Kula
Fifty-six. Looking for a job. At an interview I was asked, “So, what do you want to be when you grow up?”
Normal for L-Tron Corporation.
After twenty-six years a cop, 2017 was prime time to retire. Colleagues’ not-so-subtle hints about how I stayed too long turned into, “So when are you leaving?” A sergeant retiring means someone gets promoted, so don’t let the door hit you …
Despite my desire to stay and play a few extra years in a new police headquarters with a spacious forensics facility, I accepted my fate. Our former headquarters was in an old sewage treatment plant. Chew on THAT.
I figured I’d work right up to the end of the year.
Then, in August, a domestic dispute turned homicide. And L-Tron appeared.
Actually, I called and woke them up.
The homicide happened early the same morning I was supposed to take possession of L-Tron’s new crime and crash scene camera, OSCR360, to beta test it for the company. I had a prime opportunity to test the camera in an active crime scene, so I woke up the camera’s creator, Pat St. Clair. He woke up L-Tron Director of Solutions, Trevor DiMarco.
They responded quickly and our forensics team dropped them into the middle of a (quite frankly very bloody) murder scene to shoot 360-degree panoramas. (It strikes me at the moment of this writing that spherical photographs of a crime scene are new, but bound to become standard.) Hindsight cop humor … neither Trevor nor Pat had been in an active homicide scene. Think green.
Later, while securing the OSCR360 images to our agency’s evidence server, the getting-to-know you conversation between Pat, Trevor, and me turned to my looming retirement. Embarrassingly, I had no solid plans. I’ve always talked about combining my journalism and law enforcement backgrounds into something useful, but figured it was a long shot.
“We’ve been looking for a law enforcement writer,” Trevor said. Say what?
One phone interview and a beta conference turned second interview later, I found myself retired and part of the marketing team at L-Tron. Marketing? My PR/journalism experience began in 1983, and I never did any marketing. I knew little to nothing about it. Since I worked in PR, the internet blew up, social media exploded, and I became a police officer.
Certainly, something I knew nothing about had changed.
Boy was I right.
Not only had marketing evolved during my law enforcement career, technology passed me by. Law Enforcement is always behind the rest of the world, (particularly the criminals) at least as far as technology was concerned. As hard as I tried, I fell behind in technology know-how as well.
It was no more apparent than my first day at L-Tron.
Stay tuned for part 2 in my ‘New Kid on the Block’ series.
Hank Kula is a retired police sergeant with 26 years in law enforcement. A certified crime scene investigator, crash reconstructionist, and former journalist, Hank works as a police instructor with recruits, veteran officers, and supervisors. His instructional specialties are in crime scene management and investigation, photography, communications and public information.