The Dayton Police Department hopes that a new true-crime podcast series will help investigators develop leads in some unsolved homicide and sexual assault cases.
The police department’s Cold Case Unit is assisting a podcast that will explore cases in which the perpetrators have never been caught and brought to justice, and officials hope these episodes will generate helpful tips from listeners and community members.
The police department also has been awarded $500,000 from the U.S. Department of Justice to help identify and prosecute people suspected of committing unsolved violent crimes.
“These crimes affect not just the victims but their families,” said Dayton police Lt. Steve Bauer, supervisor of the violent crimes bureau. “These families suffer and yearn for resolution.”
True crime is very popular: Three of the top 10 podcasts in the country are focused on real-life criminal cases and crime topics, according to Edison Research.
The new podcast, which does not yet have a name, will be hosted by Zach Curry and Butch Brown.
Brown is a veteran Dayton radio personality. Curry attended the International College of Broadcasting.
Brown said the cold case team is providing access to police records and evidence, as well as insight into these cases.
Curry said he thinks these podcasts will get results.
“It’s a very, very popular genre of entertainment — but this goes beyond entertainment,” Curry said. “This is a podcast with a purpose.”
The podcast will be available on iHeartRadio and possbily elsewhere.
Other goals of the podcast are to educate the public, allow victims’ families to have a voice and ensure accountability, said a department spokesperson.
Dayton police Maj. Brian Johns said the police department recently beefed up the Cold Case Unit.
Johns, commander of the investigations division, said four police department retirees now volunteer their time several days a week to work on cold cases, and they are assisted by a couple of college interns.
Dayton also has received a federal grant that is supposed to help prosecute cases where the suspect’s DNA has been recovered.
The grant project likely will include resubmitting evidence for testing, reanalyzing existing evidence, reviewing the case files and re-interviewing witnesses and victims, according to a memo from Dayton police Chief Kamran Afzal.
Officials say they hope these steps will lead to criminal charges and convictions.