Behind the badge: Detective Tim Lathrop

Det. Tim Lathrop has been with the Keizer Police Department for more than two decades, but he didn’t start his journey as a detective. He worked as an officer in Lebanon for four years and got hired at KPD in 1998 where he worked as a patrol officer.

Roughly a year later, he became a school resource Officer and a detective in 2002.

“It’s the kind of job [that] I look forward to going to work everyday,” Lathrop said. His favorite part of the job is helping victims of crime and making them feel like they’ve been seen, heard and cared for.

Even though he cannot help everybody, and sometimes there is nothing they can do for victims, his goal is to seek justice for every individual he helps.

While some joke about your place of work burning down while you are on vacation, Lathrop had it happen. About 15 years ago, a man tried to firebomb the police department while Lathrop was on vacation.

After lighting several cars on fire in the parking lot of the old police department, the man shot up a neighborhood and barricaded himself in the courthouse.

“[He] started lighting fires in the courthouse,” Lathrop said, laughing at the absurdity of the story.

Lathrop remembered working on a harassment case involving the man, but didn’t expect him to attack the department.

Lathrop’s motivation to keep going comes, in part, by balancing the chaotic moments with a broader perspective. The world is still functioning on a daily basis– even if it looks different– but Lathrop believes things will get better.

“I’m just thankful to have a job that I can go to every day,” Lathrop said.

One of the things that he loves about working with the KPD is how cooperative the neighboring agencies are.

“Crime doesn’t solely happen here. It happens in Salem and Marion County. You may have a suspect that lives here but commits crime somewhere else,” Lathrop said. 

Having good working relationships with everyone from the Department of Human Services to the fire departments is a luxury that Lathrop is thankful for.