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Unveiling the mysteries of cold cases: A detective’s journey to justice

Detective Matt Hutchison uncovers the innovative techniques and relentless pursuit that bring long-awaited closure to cases once deemed unsolvable

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The resolution of cold cases represents a beacon of hope and justice in the often murky waters of criminal investigations. As time passes, the challenges in solving these cases magnify, yet the importance of bringing closure to victims’ families and holding perpetrators accountable never wanes. With advancements in forensic technology and investigative methods, law enforcement agencies are experiencing a renaissance in cracking cases that have remained unsolved for years, if not decades.

In this episode of the Policing Matters podcast, host Jim Dudley speaks to Detective Matt Hutchison of the Sunnyvale Department of Public Safety in California about his innovative approach to investigating cold cases that have led to remarkable successes in solving crimes long thought unsolvable. Joining the force in 2008 and becoming a detective in 2015, Hutchison’s career is a testament to the power of persistence, cutting-edge forensic science, and the collaborative effort between law enforcement and the community.

Hutchison’s insights into the world of cold case investigations not only shed light on the complexities and challenges of these endeavors but also celebrate the triumphs of justice achieved through dedication and innovation. This episode of Policing Matters is a compelling reminder of the impact that law enforcement officers can have on the lives of those seeking closure and the relentless pursuit of truth that defines their work.

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This episode of the Policing Matters Podcast is brought to you by Lexipol, the experts in policy, training, wellness support and grants assistance for first responders and government leaders. To learn more, visit

Memorable quotes

  • “I count my successes as joint successes, not just with me and my unit, but also with the families that have been waiting for answers.”
  • “It’s almost like a relay race, and I’m just the one carrying the baton at the end.”
  • “Drive is how I do it. You have to want to solve these things.”
  • “Every case that I pick up, I fully intend to solve it. I’m also realistic to know that I could get pulled out of the unit at any time. Every case that you pick up, you can leave it better than you found it.”
  • “Don’t give up. Don’t give up. Don’t give up. There is evidence out there.”

Key takeaways

  1. The definition of a cold case: The episode begins by exploring what constitutes a cold case, highlighting the challenges and intricacies involved in re-opening investigations that have gone unsolved for extended periods.
  2. The technological renaissance in forensics: Hutchison discusses the significant role that advancements in forensic technology, particularly DNA analysis and genealogy, have played in solving cold cases, offering new hope where there was once little.
  3. The necessity for perseverance: Through his own experiences, Hutchison exemplifies the crucial role of determination and hard work in solving cold cases, emphasizing the importance of never giving up on seeking justice.
  4. The importance of collaborative efforts: The episode illustrates the collaborative nature of cold case investigations, from working with predecessors’ groundwork to engaging with the community and leveraging the expertise of non-law enforcement professionals.
  5. The value of creative investigative techniques: Hutchison shares fascinating stories from his career, including posing as a busboy and working on a garbage truck, to collect crucial evidence, showcasing the innovative and sometimes unconventional methods detectives are willing to employ to solve a case.

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Policing Matters law enforcement podcast with host Jim Dudley features law enforcement and criminal justice experts discussing critical issues in policing