CAIRO — In his 16 years with the Cairo Police Department, nearly all of it on patrol, Lt. Tyrone Griffin said he’s always wanted to do more, but never truly had a chance to dig into an investigation.
“You had other stuff to do,” said Griffin, whose promotion to lieutenant was made official Wednesday. “You were on patrol or you were answering calls. You never had a chance to really, totally focus on something that you could follow up on.”
Now, rather than taking a report and passing it along, Griffin will be deeply involved in investigations as the newest member of CPD’s Criminal Investigations Division.
Starting off as a patrolman in 2004, CPD’s new investigator said he worked his way up through the ranks by taking his job and his training seriously. The chance to become an investigator became open twice during Griffin’s tenure with the police department, and both times he was turned down for the job, but the third time was the charm.
Griffin said he brings plenty of experience to the table thanks to his years as a patrolman.
“I was already checking up with investigators and working on a lot of stuff,” he said. “I know a lot of people and talked to a lot of people. I have no problem talking with people and I’m well-known in the community, so I don’t have a problem getting information from people.”
Prior to his career in law enforcement, Griffin worked in the city’s Energy Services Division in the gas department. It was through that job that Griffin met Freddie Willis, an officer in the police department who encouraged Griffin to pursue a career in blue.
“He used to always come up to the gas department in the morning at the office and we used to always talk,” Griffin said. “I guess from talking to him he liked my ideas and told me I should apply.”
It was then-police chief Keith Sandefur who hired Griffin, and the investigator credits Sandefur with helping him get to where he is today. Griffin was then tutored for 10 years under Giovannie Santos, now chief of police in his own right, and it was under Santos that Griffin earned the rank of master patrolman and now lieutenant.
“He helped me learn my job,” Griffin said of Santos. “He helped me do my job to where I didn’t have to ask questions. I could do my job confidently.”