Kris Acker starts her workday before dawn. The soft-spoken Criminal Intake Unit (CIU) detective is in her 24th year with MPD, and an electronic pile of paperwork awaits her each day. Kris and her CIU team are tasked with reading every single MPD report in which a criminal charge is referred to the District Attorney's office, ensuring that the elements of each referred crime are statutorily met. It is painstaking and important work. From arsons to bar brawls, from convoluted domestics to gun offenses, Acker's unit sees – and reads – it all.
When asked about a significant case she has worked in her detective tenure, Kris doesn't hesitate. In October 2011, a gang-related shooting left one man dead on Madison's north side. Ten people were criminally charged in the homicide, and over 8,000 pages of police reports were generated. Detective Acker and Det. Lisa Wing were at the helm of the case; meanwhile, Kris's mother was battling breast cancer. During a 2-week trial for one of the homicide defendants, her mother passed the day after Mother's Day. "I put the case before family," Det Acker says. "I'll never do it again."
Kris is currently a live-in caregiver for her father, and speaks of him with great love. The detective also dotes on her husband, who she says "is the happiest person I have ever met." And in her downtime, Det. Acker revels in nature photography. She lights up talking about her Nikon D850 and the joy of photographing eagles as they fish. Kris shares that the trick to capturing a good waterfall photo is using a slow shutter speed to make the water look like angel hair. It's easy to imagine the sedate detective at the foot of a waterfall, checking her shutter speed, a rare quiet moment in her busy world.