Top 10 Real Life Investigators You Should Idolize

Criminal Investigation is part of the criminal justice system. Every organized society has a system to prevent a breach of law, enforce laws and assuage the victims so that any society of the country can function smoothly and its members or citizens live without fear and work peacefully.

To keep the citizens safe, Investigators play a pivotal role in keeping law and order in a society. They identify the culprits or suspects using evidentiary proof to link the criminal with the crime and crime scenes.

The Police Investigators are police officers of status that the government fixes. They are also called investigating officers. Some persons employ private investigators also. The task of an investigating officer is tough and taxing since he must be smart enough to anticipate and understand the mechanization of the criminal.

He has to know investigation techniques, human psychology to understand the mental working and the behavior of the person involved and the law so that he doesn’t trespass the legal and human rights.

People love mystery stories and the investigators who solve those mysterious cases. The literary Investigators or detectives such as Sherlock Holmes ‘a fiction character‘ and many more have been part of our imagination since the 19th century. However, there are some real-life Investigators who resembled Sherlock Holmes.

Top 10 Investigators Every Person Must know

The real-life Investigators or detectives who dazzled the public with their personalities and abilities are-

1. Leonard Nipper Read

leonard Nipper Read standing outside his home

Leonard Nipper Read was a British police officer who was born on 31 March 1925 in Nottingham, England. In 1946, he tried to join the police force in his hometown in Nottingham, England.  Unfortunately for him, the city had a minimum height requirement of 6 feet, and the diminutive he was rejected.

A year later, he moved to London which was less restrictive and he became an officer with the metropolitan police. Leonard’s first major case occurred in 1963 when he was a part of the Scotland Yard team sent to Buckinghamshire to help investigate the Great Train Robbery.

Although Bruce Reynolds was considered the mastermind of the operation, Nipper believed the true architect was an Irishman named Mickey who meticulously devised robberies and sold the plans. to interested gangs.

Leonard’s biggest challenge came in 1964 once he was offered a taskforce to “have a go” at taking down The Firm, the East End gang headed by ill-famed  Kray Twins. 5 years later, Ronnie and Reggie Kray were found guilty and sentenced to life in jail.

Leonard Read died on 7th April 2020 due to the corona pandemic.

2.  Charlie Siringo

charles Siringo sitting beside a table

Charlie Siringo was an American lawman born on 7th February 1855 in Matagorda County, Texas. Charlie spent twenty years as a Pinkerton detective. He specialized in working undercover and took part in some of the agency’s most notorious cases. He had a long and varied career which saw him investigate rustlers, killers, assassination attempts and labor unions from Alaska to Mexico.

He is well remembered for his role in the Coeur d’Alene labor strike of 1892. He spent 4 years traveling 25,000 miles and helped capture some of the gang’s most ruthless members such as Kid curry. He was called off the case once Cassidy and the Sundance kid fled to South America. He had one more memorable moment in his career when he saved lawyer, Clarence Darrow.

3. Dave Toschi

Dave Toschi sitting beside a table with a file on his hands concentrated in the content of the file

Dave Toschi was an American law enforcement officer born on 11th July 1931 in San Francisco. He became an inspiration for iconic movie cops of the 60s and 70s and when he was on the clock he also investigated the infamous Zodiac killer.

He joined the San Francisco Police Department in 1953 while serving in the Korean War. He entered the hunt for the zodiac in 1969 after the murder of Paul Stine, the killer’s only known victim in San Francisco. Toschi would visit the scene of Stine’s murder for many years afterwards hoping he might spot an overloaded clue that might lead to the identity of the notorious serial killer.

He also investigated and helped to solve the zebra murder. The extra attention went to Toschi’s head. In an ill-advised indulgence, the detective sent anonymous letters to the San Francisco Chronicle praising his own work. This got him booted off the case 9 years after Stine’s murder.

4. Kate Warne

Kate warne with a brown coloured hat standing beside a scenery

In 1956, Kate Warne was a 23 years old widow looking for employment. One day, she entered the Chicago office of the Pinkerton Detective Agency and spoke with Allen Pinkerton himself. He was surprised to find out that she wasn’t there for a clerical job, but rather for the position of detective advertiser in the newspaper.

Initially, Pinkerton didn’t desire a feminine detective however Warne argued that she may acquire data in ways that men couldn’t. Pinkerton was swayed and Kate Warne became his first feminine detective. Warne’s first massive case came about in 1858. Somebody was embezzling funds from the Adams Express Company and Pinkerton suspected the Montgomery workplace manager Nathan Maroney.

Kate went undercover, befriended his wife, and got the evidence that led to his conviction. She was praised for her role in investigating the Baltimore plot, an alleged conspiracy to assassinate then President-elect-Abraham Lincoln. She used her undercover talents to pose as a southern belle and collect information for Pinkerton.

5. Jerome Caminada

Jerome caminada posing for a picture with his stoic expressions

Sherlock Holmes is without a doubt the world’s most famous fictional detective. But there are some real-life Investigators who resembled Sherlock Holmes enough that they came to be regarded as inspirations for many inspirations.

Jerome Caminada was one of them. He gained national prominence during the mid-1880s, shortly before the first appearance of Doyle’s detective. He wore disguises during cases and employed a network of unofficial informers similar to Holmes’s irregulars.

After he retired from the police force in 1899, he became a consulting detective and worked cases all over the world. He even had his own Moriarty-styled archrival in the firm of one Bob Horridge.

Caminada’s finest moment as a detective came in 1889 throughout a case dubbed the Manchester cab mystery. Businessman John Fletcher hailed a cab outside the Manchester cathedral and left with an unidentified young man. Using clues, deduction, and his knowledge of the criminal underworld, Caminada identified the killer as 18 years old Charlie Parton.

6. John P. St. John

John P. St. John posing for a passport size photo

John P. St. John was one of the most tenacious and prolific officers in American history. He served the Los Angeles Police Department for 51 years, 43 of them as a homicide detective. He investigated around 1,500 murders and solved over 1000 of them.

By the time he retired in 1993, his seniority on the force earned him the privilege of carrying badge as number 1. St. John gained the nickname “Jigsaw John” early in his career when he worked on a dismemberment case. It stuck for many years because other officers thought St. John had a knack for putting clues together like a puzzle.

He investigated serial killers like Harvey Glatman, the “Night Stalker” Richard Ramirez and the Grim sleeper. Service medal for his 8- year investigation that led to the capture of William Bonin one of the Freeway killers.

7. William J Burns

William J Burns standing up to a mike for a conference with America's flag behind him

Many real-life detectives or Investigators have been compared to Arthur Conan Doyle’s creation but William J Burns was called “American Sherlock Holmes” by none other than Doyle himself. He started his law enforcement career as an assistant to a private eye and then became a Secret Service Agent.

His success led to him opening his own International Detective Agency. Several high-profile cases led to him becoming the Director of the Bureau of Investigation, the precursor of the FBI. Burns investigated 2 infamous early cases of domestic terrorism.

In 1910, he looked into the bombing of the Los Angeles Times building which killed 21 people. He went undercover and arrested brothers John and James McNamara. 10 years later, he investigated the Wall Street Bombing.

Burns’s reputation took a severe hit when he was implicated in the Teapot Dome Scandal. Then, he was forced to resign from the Bureau of Investigation and was replaced by J. Edgar Hoover.

8. Eugene Francois Vidocq

Eugene Francois Vidocq standing for a passport size photo

Eugene Francois Vidocq started out on a life of crime that seemed destined to end with a trip to the gallows. However, he eventually switched sides and used his keen understanding of the criminal’s mind to combat it. His crime-fighting career started in 1809. His skill and reputation made him a formidable spy.

He lobbied hard for a plainclothes unit and obtained it in 1812. He opened more branches around the country and kept expanding his underworld of informants. He also employed innovative techniques such as early ballistics and plaster casts of shoe prints. Not just an officer of the law, he was a celebrity in his own right. 

9. Izzy Einstein and Moe Smith

Izzy Einstein and Moe Smith sitting behind a table holding a glass of drink

With the passing of the Volstead Act in 1919, prohibition came to the United States. A new agency was required to enforce the law and therefore the Bureau of Prohibition was born.

Izzy Einstein and Moe Smith were its top investigators. Neither one of them had any enforcement expertise. Yet, they were responsible for almost 5000 arrests with a 95% conviction rate. Izzy and Moe were likable to wear disguises to achieve entry to speakeasies.

If the bar was near the hospital, they would wear white coats. If it was an attorney bar, they might be available in carrying significant law texts. Sometimes they dressed as husband and wife. The duo’s success was their undoing. They were fired after 5 years with the Bureau because everyone else resented them for their skill and popularity.

10. Mary Doyle

Mary Doyle giving an interview beside a building

Mary Doyle is the Chief Superintendent of Britain’s Manchester Police Force. She joined at the age of only 20, she’s had nothing short of an illustrious career.

In 2011, she led an intense national investigation into the murder of Indian student Anuj Bidve and helped place his killer – who dubbed himself ‘Psycho’ behind bars. She currently helps manage the policing of a town with over 27 organized crime syndicates.

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