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Rod On The Right Side Of The Law
By Zon D'Amour
Published April 19, 2017

Rod Demery 

Investigation Discovery’s latest series, “Murder Chose Me” is a different type of crime series. Rod Demery narrates through a compelling retelling of the murder cases he’s solved  throughout his two decades as a lead homicide detective in Shreveport, Louisiana. Having overcome the grief of his mother being murdered and coincidentally his brother being incarcerated for murder, Demery shares how he was able to channel his most challenging personal experiences into a life of service.

LAS: Given your experiences with death, especially at a young age, how were you able to channel your grief in a constructive way to forge a path as a detective where you help others?

Rod Demery: My grandparents were older so naturally they were a generation before my mom so they were still kind of old school and growing up they went to church three or four times a week, it felt like everyday. With that background, you learn that your loss and God’s comfort is how you comfort other people…when you’re feeling some type of loss the minute you help someone through there loss, you feel better. So I think it was a comfortable place for me after a while.

LAS: There are a lot of television shows that have the murder re-enactment element. What differentiates “Murder Chose Me” from its contemporaries?

RD: The first person storytelling through out each episode. It’s a story inside of a story. The show is partly the cases I’ve worked along with the things that I’ve experienced growing up; these are all woven in and out of the show and it gives it more of an intimate feel. That’s what’s different about the show–the personal relationships between my life and my cases and how it all comes together.

LAS: Was there a particularly trying case that you didn’t necessarily understand at the time that in hindsight had a valuable learning lesson?

RD: Working through a lot of murder cases, I think the thing that tried my faith and my patience wasn’t necessarily what happened but the apathy of everyone around.

There were times where I would get so frustrated because there was such a tremendous amount of loss of life from young black women and men, wives, gangsters, wannabe gangsters and it seemed that at some point, many people grew insensitive and were desensitized by it all.

I would find myself so frustrated like, “Why aren’t people doing more? How are people okay with this?’ The hardest part was accepting that there are many people who are insensitive to it. With “Murder Chose Me” we show that grief and frustration whether it’s the grief of the family or the apathy of others who seem to think it’s okay.

And there were a couple of times that it got real personal…that’s my prayer that people will understand and feel that the family and friends of the victims are going to wake up and not be able to see the people they love ever again and everyone should be empathetic to that.

LAS: With your brother currently serving a life sentence for murder, what do you believe most impacted the trajectory of your lives?

RD: My brother and I were from the same exact background but some of the ways we dealt with grief and some of the choices we made…regardless of what was going on in our lives, eventually we had to make our own decisions and I thank God that I chose the right ones but as simple as it sounds, it’s a matter of you deciding if you actually want to do this or not.

Unfortunately my brother made different choices. But I don’t think that defines who he is; it’s just the choices he made.  In police work especially homicide investigations, people will look at the crime that someone commits and say, ‘that’s who they are’–no, it’s what they did.

You have to be able to separate the crime from the criminal. There are choices that you’re going to be faced with and the choice that you make is what’s going to define the outcome not the person.

LAS: In recent years, there seems to have been an upswing of unarmed African American men being murdered by police leading to a definite lack of trust in the people that are supposed to protect and serve. As an African American officer, how can law enforcement go about rebuilding their fractured relationships within our communities?

RD: I think that’s the police’s issue; they need to figure out a way to make that happen. I was fortunate to be able to be in touch with my community (of Shreveport, Louisiana) whether it was through church or my fraternity (Kappa Alpha Psi). I believe it’s the responsibility of those that serve the community to bridge those gaps, foster those relationships, mentor and take responsibility for the jobs that they took

I don’t say that disparagingly, I say that because being connected to the community it’s just as much of a responsibility as being out there on the streets, you have to be able to develop those relationships when you’re in that type of leadership position.

I, along with many of the officers in Shreveport, we’re hands on. Shreveport has a big Greek life and we’re a big faith based community.

So it’s our responsibility as officers to find one of those outlets to reach out and complete the other part of our job.

“Murder Chose Me” airs Wednesdays at 10/9 on Investigation Discovery (ID Channel)

(Photo Courtesy: Investigation Discovery)

Categories: Entertainment | News (Entertainment) | TV
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