O'Fallon Progress

O’Fallon detective has become an expert cyber sleuth

O'Fallon Police Detective Carl Walker
O'Fallon Police Detective Carl Walker For the Progress

O’Fallon detective Carl Walker has made it easier for law enforcement agencies in the metro-east to solve crimes because he helped develop an information-sharing system.

Because of his involvement in the St. Clair County Investigative Professionals partnership and FBI Academy training, he worked on a website, ilcrime.org, which enabled departments to communicate about case details.

The Illinois Bar Association honored him with its statewide Law Enforcement Award last year.

Walker, 47, received state recognition because of this invaluable tool’s impact, but he is more comfortable out of the spotlight, diligently working on community safety.

The website, which stands for “Illinois Crime Reporting and Information – Metro-East,” now assists 24 police departments. It’s for any Illinois, Missouri or federal law enforcement agency or state’s attorney office that can either benefit from or contribute to the gathering of criminal information.

“They can put in all the details. For instance, a department is looking for a guy who robbed a convenience store, and he had blue shoes on and a silver handgun. Another agency says, ‘Hey, we had a guy commit a robbery wearing blue shoes and a silver handgun.’ So they start putting two and two together,” Walker said. “They’re able to clear up the crime. The accumulated information helps.”

Walker’s knowledge and critical thinking skills have been sharpened over the years through additional education and training. He started as an auxiliary sheriff’s deputy in 1992, then was hired by St. Louis County in 1995. He worked in Richmond Heights, Missouri, then joined the O’Fallon, Illinois department in 2003.

Further training in cyber-crimes and computer forensics began in 1998. He found it so interesting, he returned to school for a master’s degree in computer information systems at Webster University. He had earlier graduated from the police academy, then at Belleville Area College, and earned a bachelor’s degree from McKendree College with emphasis in criminal justice.

He’s been part of a FBI cyber-crimes task force, child investigative task force, and the Greater St. Louis Major Case Squad, which is about 20 investigators from multiple agencies who are called in to help with murder investigations.

Crime may be more sophisticated because of modern technology, and the department must keep on top of that, Walker said, and there’s a growing reliance on using cellphone data for forensic clues.

“The devil’s in the details,” he said. “But it’s getting harder every day.”

Walker has conducted seminars for schools, parents and kids about cyber-bullying and sexting, as well as other issues raised in social media.

“The Internet has exposed children to many things at a younger age,” he noted.

The department helps with security assessments.

“We’re always going to schools, holding active-shooter training and intruder drills,” he said.Just call him the next-door detective During his spare time, Walker likes being a family guy. He and his wife, Stacey, married in 1999. Their social activities often revolve around attending their daughter’s activities. She is a student and cheerleader at Fulton Junior High School.

Walker takes pride in working for his community.

“It’s a great place to work, to live and raise a family. We’re still like a small town in some regards. We have a bigger tax base, good school system. I think it’s the best in the area.”

He praised the city leaders for the support they have given the police department for the past 10 years.

“We have a top-notch department. It’s a demanding job, but it has great rewards. We get out and meet people. They see us getting our job done,” he said.

When his dad was in the U.S. Air Force, his family moved around, but being stationed at Scott AFB around 1985 was like coming home. After his dad retired, they established roots, and even while working for other law enforcement agencies, Walker was grateful to call O’Fallon home.

Detective work fascinated him from an early age, so police work beckoned.

“It’s about solving the problem, putting the pieces together. It’s the challenge of taking all the clues, and evidence, and saying ‘here’s the problem, let’s get to a solution,” he said.

But he’s the first to admit that TV makes criminal investigations look easy.

“They walk in, and a piece of evidence is right there. On ‘CSI,’ the shell casing will be in view,” he said. “It doesn’t work like that.”

Their real-life investigations require sharp skills, taking note of things, and often painstakingly going through mountains of tedious evidence.

But helping people out is the reason he does the job.

“The hours can be brutal. One of the things about this job is that I see people at their absolute worst, but I also see people at their absolute best,” he said. “It’s humbling to meet the people we’re helping, and they’re appreciative of our service. We can make an impact.”

Q: Do you have words to live by?

A: Work smarter, not harder.

Q: Whom do you most admire?

A: Jesus. He was the best at being both conservative and liberal at the same time.

Q: If you could spend time with a famous person, past or present, whom would it be?

A: President Trump. I’d like an opportunity to convince him to stay off Twitter.

Q: What is the last book that you read?

A: “The Shack” by William Paul Young. Read the book, the movie was not that great.

Q: What do you do for fun and relaxation?

A: Waterfowl hunt. Fly my drone, I’m an FAA licensed drone pilot.

Q: What is the usual state of your desktop?

A: Covered with cases I’m working on, but organized.

Q: What did you want to do career wise when you were growing up?

A: Fighter pilot, like my dad.

Q: What do you think is your most outstanding characteristic?

A: Fixing things and solving problems.

Q: What irritates you most?

A: Inefficiency — doing a lot of work for nothing.

Q: What type of music do you listen to?

A: Whatever my teenage daughter tells me to. Otherwise, classic alternative from the ’80s and ’90s.

Q: What do you like most about your job?

A: Challenge of problem solving.

Q: If you were independently wealthy, what would you be doing?

A: Exploring the world on my yacht.

Q: When they make a movie of your life, who would play you?

A: Owen Wilson, we both went to high school at New Mexico Military Institute.

Q: If you were stranded on a deserted island, what would you have with you?

A: Satellite phone, so I could get rescued.