When area residents turn on their stereos to listen to their favorite radio station, kick back their feet to watch television, or show off their favorite piece of jewelry, many of them have Det. Linda Bowers to thank for it.
In the past four years, the Eastern District detective has recovered stolen property worth $160,000 and made more than 140 arrests -- laurels that made her worthy of the Eastern District Police Community Relations Council Officer of the Year award.
Detective Bowers will be honored with a plaque and a cash award Wednesday at the police station community room.
"I don't think I'm special, I'm just lucky, fortunate," said Detective Bowers, a nine-year veteran of the police force. "You get singled out because of this award, and it's hard because there are so many more people who are deserving."
Ms. Bowers was chosen over three other officers from the Eastern District. Each officer's supervisor submitted letters to the council, highlighting the officers' achievements.
The nominees were judged by a three-member committee on the basis of these letters.
"She was definitely the best candidate," said Robin Holderman, one of the judges. "It sounds like she has been a good, quality officer for the district. She just stood out."
Eastern District Commander P. Thomas Shanahan said Ms. Bowers has been involved with every major case handled by the district, most of which are burglaries.
She was the lead investigator on the two most significant cases in the past six months: a string of 30 burglaries in the apartments on Crain Highway; and another group of 14 burglaries in the Shipley's Choice neighborhood.
Both cases ended with the police arresting and charging suspects and recovering stolen property worth more than $20,000.
"She has an exceptional eye for details," said Sgt. Craig Korvin, Ms. Bowers' supervisor. "If I were a criminal, I wouldn't want her on my case."
Ms. Bowers often uses computer databases track down suspects in the cases that she says are like mystery novels.
"You read the initial report, and that's the story. Then you have to go through the scenes to solve it," she said. "You have to see a problem and come up with a way to solve it."
After a string of burglaries, she may call up inventory lists supplied by pawn shops to see if there is a match between pawned goods and property reported stolen.
Once she makes a match, not only does she have a suspect she can track down, but she can help someone else.
"I'm able to provide the victim with some sense of closure," she said. "I feel satisfied that the victim will receive some of their property."