The Retired Investigators Guild: serving law enforcement agencies from the shadows

“Restoring America’s faith in law enforcement and continuing the tireless pursuit of criminals in the interest of victims of violent crimes.”

The words above are the mission of The Retired Investigators Guild (the RIG). The RIG is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that is dedicated to serving law enforcement agencies across the nation by providing 24/7 expert assistance wherever needed.

Comprised of entirely of volunteers, these former and retired criminal investigators from agencies across the United States and Canada, are carefully selected through a review process. According to the RIG (insert link), each volunteer must be able to demonstrate “that they represent the best of the best in their ability to investigate homicides, cold cases, and related major crimes.”

In today’s day and age, law enforcement agencies are in crisis. Cancel culture has gone to great lengths to demonize police following a high-profile detainment and death of an individual in 2020. Along with that, there has been an increasing push to defund police across the board.

We’ve even seen entire departments disband and be replaced with something that barely resembles actual policing. And as a result, staffing issues abound due to lack of funds and interest in recruiting, coupled with record retirement rates.

And to make everything even worse for these law enforcement officers and their agencies, crime rates are at an all-time high.

With all of this and more in mind, the 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 assisting with active cases, the RIG has assembled a group of “some of the nation’s top cold case investigators.” These men and women are experts that are qualified and capable of helping to address one of the more daunting challenges that agencies and communities alike are facing.

According to the RIG’s website, fewer than 18% of law enforcement agencies have a unit that is dedicated specifically to cold cases. With more than 250,000 major crimes, including murders, being classified as cold cases, many families are left with little hope of justice or closure for their loved ones.

This is where the heart of the RIG and its founders and volunteers might shine brightest. The RIG is fiercely committed to their mission of restoring faith in law enforcement.

In my interview with one of the founders, Mike Marty, he said, “In every area in which we work, we work to get a scholarship in the name of a victim of a homicide in a case that we solve.”

Mr. Marty is fully aware that it’s law enforcement that tends to show up in someone’s darkest hour. And his heart for shedding some light into that darkness is something that we see far too little of today.

That is not to discount the heart of Mr. Marty and his teams for assisting their brothers and sisters behind the badge.

The RIG also acknowledges the financial strain on agencies to investigate cold cases in their jurisdictions. Being a nonprofit, they have been able to develop relationships with labs and scientists to use the latest technologies to process these cases, at a fraction of the cost to departments. And considering the defund movement, agency budgets are hugely important.

When asked where Mr. Marty sees the RIG in five years, he said that he would like to see the RIG in every single fly-over city/town in the United States. There’s a caveat though, he does not want big attention. Early in our interview, Mr. Marty said, “I want the RIG to operate in the shadows, so that law enforcement just uses us as a tool in their toolbox. They can go to us and pull from us and say, ‘hey we need this extra support or help.’”

Mr. Marty remained committed to that statement when toward the end of our interview, he said something profound. He was asked with how many agencies the RIG is currently partnered, Marty said ten agencies.

He went on to say, “It’s like the hardest thing that I’ve ever had to do. It’s tough because we try to raise money, but I don’t want to tell people who we’re helping, because I don’t want to degrade or diminish the good work that they’re doing.”

He continued, “It’s difficult because I really want to scream, ‘Hey we solved that case!’ but at the same time, I want them to get the credit, even if our guys and gals did the entire case. It’s your agency that solved that case, great job! And we’ll just hide in the shadows.”

It is truly remarkable to come across an organization that does so much good work and does not want the light on them. They want to be the light that helps to illuminate law enforcement. And I believe that they really do represent the best of the best in law enforcement.

The vast majority of our men and women behind that badge are selfless community servants who pour every bit of themselves and then some into upholding their oaths.

This is just one of the reasons that we need to get behind the RIG and support their cause. As a grassroots organization that would like to remain in the shadows, fundraising can get difficult. And one thing is for sure, law enforcement needs this organization.

So many are retiring because they’re essentially handcuffed and unable to entirely uphold the oath that means so much to them. The RIG can help.

You can read more about the RIG, their mission, founders, and donate here.

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The opinions reflected in this article are not necessarily the opinions of LET
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