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We Are The 28 - The Winding Path to MPD: Patrol Lieutenant Kelly Beckett

March 22, 2020 12:42 PM

In the first 5 minutes of sitting in Kelly Beckett's patrol lieutenant office, a veteran detective comes in to discuss an urgent warrant request. The detective is working a significant domestic violence case; the victim is hospitalized and the suspect fled from MPD officers the previous day during an apprehension attempt. The landline rings, Lt Beckett's cell phone buzzes, and she discusses duty judges, ongoing safety concerns, and the possibility of SWAT getting involved. It's 1pm on a Tuesday in winter, and Lt Beckett is imperturbable and in charge.

Kelly Beckett's path to MPD is a modern novella. She majored in horticulture at the University of Illinois, then served a year in AmeriCorps roofing homes and doing disaster relief from Arkansas to North Carolina. Along the way, Kelly met her wife Karen, moved to San Francisco to work for a short-lived dotcom, moved to Madison, started a PhD program in educational psych, and applied to be a Madison Police Officer. How did a researcher focused on using tech to build learning environments end up at MPD? She went on a ride-along with now-retired MPD Officer Ann Myatt, and was drawn to the complex environments that police officers traverse.

Lt Beckett's family and work touch in different facets of Kelly's life, but perhaps nowhere more poignantly than her office. The lieutenant has a row of neatly organized binders lined up on her desk; a glance at the binders reveals carefully labeled case files and state statutes, along with previous investigative templates. And what holds them in place are 2 light blue rocketship bookends, castoffs from Kelly and Karen's children.

Kelly Beckett
Kelly Beckett (right) finding new paths on vacation with her wife.


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