Prosecuting Attorney Ronald Holliday and St. Joseph Police Department Chief Chris Connally have collaborated to hire a criminal investigator to work in the prosecutor’s office.
Since Holliday took office, he’s seen a need for an in-house criminal investigator to help with trial preparations and follow-up investigations.
The Police Department’s Detective Division has been responsible for those tasks in the past, but Holliday doesn’t want to take them away from their current investigation assignments.
“When we’re preparing for trial we are taking the lead detective that’s working on current investigations to do follow-up work on a past case,” Holliday said.
Holliday and Connally envisioned the positon to be filled by a retired police officer familiar with law enforcement practices.
The positon was filled by Richard Wall, a St. Joseph police officer of 20 years, who retired in 2010.
“We didn’t want an active police officer that we would have to remove from their job,” Holliday said.
After Wall retired, he obtained his nursing degree from Missouri Western State University and worked at Mosaic Life Care for several years. Wall started work on his degree while he was still an officer and retired right before he started nursing school.
“I told myself, ‘I’m going to try this until somebody tells me no,’” Wall said. “Then four years later, nobody told me no.”
Prosecutors have to review medical records on a daily basis, which makes Wall’s medical background extremely useful for the position.
“When Holliday gets a stack of papers about a case I can break down all of the medical terminology where it will make sense,” Wall said.
Wall is excited to start helping out with major cases and making a difference in the trial process, as well as still being involved with law enforcement and interacting with past co-workers.
“I’m learning what I need, to make sure the prosecutor has a case to present to the jury to win, and that’s exciting,” Wall said.
Wall started work Oct. 1, and Holliday said he’s already seen benefits within a few days.
“He’s already deeply engaged in work that needs to be done,” Holliday said.
The position is funded equally by the city of St. Joseph and Buchanan County.