SEATTLE — Detective Don Witmer has been with the Seattle Police Department for 15 years, the last five in the Domestic Violence Unit. “Victims need somebody to speak for them and sometimes that’s where I come in and kind of take what actually happened to them and be able to send it to a prosecutor and be able to say to them this is the real story, this is actually what happened,” says Det. Witmer.
“I’ve worked with tons of detectives over my career and the ones that have a passion for the job clearly stand out and Det. Witmer’s one of those,” says Kim Wyatt with the King County Prosecutor’s office. She recently nominated him for the Norm Maleng Outstanding Law Enforcement Professionalism Award, after he received new training to use photography in investigations, particularly strangulations. Detective Witmer says, “Our department actually has some new technology using infrared cameras and we actually used it in a case recently where the victim had been strangled to unconsciousness and by the time I got the case a week and a half later, it was difficult to see some of the bruising. With that camera system, we were able to bring out some of the marks that were made by that abuser.”
It’s a skill that’s helping prosecutors convict violent suspects. “Strangulation cases are the second most common felony that we file in the DV unit at the county. Those cases are notoriously difficult to process because often we don’t have visible injuries and we often don’t have medical records so being able to get photographs with these special lenses allows us to be able to prove that in fact she is saying what really happened she was really strangled.”
Detective Witmer’s colleagues say he works late into the evening hours to make sure his cases are solid, and always shows true compassion. “The whole police department’s proud of Det. Witmer for his continual pursuit of excellence in his investigations but also for the care that he gives to the victims of domestic violence.” says Seattle Police Capt. Steve Paulsen.
Witmer says, “I’m the type of person that really cares about people and I just want to see people live a life that I would want to live”. Kim Wyatt agrees, “Don Witmer is the epitome of a wonderful detective because he cares.”
Congratulations to Seattle Police Det. Don Witmer for being our Washington’s Most Wanted Officer of the Month.