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"My next-door neighbour was a police officer, which I thought was a really cool job. He invited me to go on a ride-along with him, and I just loved it. Every part of the job, everything he talked about, I thought 'This is exactly what I want to do.'"

-Homicide Detective Cathy Oakden

Cathy Oakden is a homicide detective with Edmonton's Police Service.

"The best and the worst parts of this job are dealing with the families. The worst part is the next of kin notification. It's emotionally draining and sad. The best part is telling the families that you've put the bad guy in jail. I keep the family in the loop of how the investigation's going, so a lot of what I do is driven by the families of the people that are our victims. They drive us to keep on working and keep on trying to find that one last clue that'll turn the case around."

There are 12 detectives on Edmonton's homicide team, with 4 on call at any given time. "We work as a team in homicide," explains Oakden, "there are 12 homicide detectives, and we rotate through the different positions on the homicide team. The main position is the lead investigator who's in charge of the flow and direction of the file, assigning tasks, and is the detective everyone reports to. Then there are the people who go to the scene and conduct interviews and work with the identification team. Then there's next of kin notification, and liaison with the medical examiner's office."

Detective Oakden is quick to point out that the homicide team doesn't work alone, but instead calls on a wide variety of experts to help them in their investigations. "DNA analysts and blood spatter experts are just some of the people that we'll use as a resource. We don't do this alone. Everything is very much a team effort."

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