Ask Sgt. Kelly

Have you ever been reading a mystery story and thought:  you moron!  If there is a guy in the snowbound cabin claiming to be the police detective and you know very well that you’re the police detective (but incognito) and people keep getting murdered, isn’t it likely that the guy who’s claiming to be the detective is really the murderer? Or have you ever thought, I wish I could ask some literary character what he or she thinks about something.  Katie Kelly has very graciously agreed to take time off from her crusade against crime and answer your questions.


Dear KK, how did you get interested in law enforcement as a career?  –Kathie C.

Dear Kathie,

As I told Rakefet and the other quilters one afternoon, in my family there were only two career paths: the convent and law enforcement.  And it was generally acknowledged that I wouldn’t make a very good nun.  Thanks for writing.            KK


Dear KK, Do you have any advice for young women considering a career in law enforcement?   –LaTonya W.

Dear LaTonya,

If you have a family, make sure that they really understand what your job demands of you and them.  If you have a resentful husband and children at home, it’s going to make it difficult to do your job, but if everybody understands that plans may change at any moment and they just have to roll with the punches, you will be able to give your work 100% when you’re there.  You’re not a file clerk. Sometimes people’s lives depend on you.  This attitude is not in line with current child rearing trends, so be prepared to have a pretty thick skin.

Second, if you’re a perfectionist about the other aspects of your life and can’t delegate or back burner your responsibilities to your parents, siblings, friends, and organizations, the demands of a job in law enforcement will make you miserable.  I admit that this is still a problem for me–thinking I can do everything.

Thirdly, if you have young kids or elderly parents, make sure you have a strong and reliable back up plan.

And at the police station, like any work environment, there will always be someone who just has to give you a hard time, whether it’s for being a woman, or for your ethnicity, or for some other mysterious thing that you do that rubs him the wrong way. Build alliances, be tough– and unless the person’s behavior is really over the top, don’t complain at work.  Save your stories to regale your quilting buddies!

Thanks for writing.    KK


Dear KK, how do you find and keep good friends?  Clare T

Dear Clare,  I’ve come to the conclusion that my guardian angel periodically arranges play dates between me and people that he thinks would be good friends for me.  I just have to be paying attention!

Friends make time for each other, chronologically and emotionally, but the payback is always worth it.  While I was investigating Dr. Friesen’s murder, if it hadn’t been for my friends I would never have been able to see my way clear.  The first day of the investigation I could tell that my partner Isaac Flores was a little annoyed that I went over to Rakefet’s to quilt and gossip even though there was nothing obvious that I could do on the case at that point (and we won’t even talk about what Captain Taylor would have said if he’d known!) but it was a good thing that I did!  It turned out that Abby had some inside information on the victim’s widow, and Rakefet told me about her phone call from Peggy, both of which  turned out to be critical pieces of information.  But what’s more important, when I was terrified that I was going to discover that the perp was from within the local pro-life community, my girlfriends were able to say, hold on, KK.  Take a step back and look at this from a broader perspective.  This was exactly what I needed to do, and I was too panicked to do it on my own.

When I was a little girl, they taught me that it was better to give than to receive, and I learned that lesson maybe too well!  Sometimes I feel guilty that my friends are doing more for me than I am doing for them. I have to remind myself some day one of them will need something from me, and that I will be there for them.  Thanks for writing and thanks for giving me the opportunity to think about this!      KK