Heard on the Hill

Reichert on the Police and the Green River Killer Case

Washington state Republican was in law enforcement for 33 years

 

  Long before he came to the Hill, Rep. Dave Reichert  chased after one of the nation's most prolific serial killers.  

He once found a note nailed to the door of his home, threatening to kill him and his family if he didn't give up looking for a suspect in the Green River Killer case.   

On his first day on the case, he may have been less than an hour behind the killer — who was finally caught almost two decades later.  

The Washington Republican narrates harrowing stories from his law enforcement days trying to catch the Green River Killer in the latest of the House Republicans’ "Snapshots" video series .  

Reichert described his role in the Green River Killer task force . For almost 20 years, beginning in 1982, serial killer Gary Ridgway murdered dozens of women and girls in the Seattle area.   

“I was only 45-minutes behind the killer at that time, but we didn’t catch him until 19 years later,” Reichert said about his first day called to the case.  

Reichert wore a badge for 33 years. He served as the sheriff of King County, which includes Seattle, for about eight years and was elected to Congress in 2004 .    

The video mostly focuses on the Green River case.  

“It was a tough case, that’s an understatement,” he said.  

Even when he tried to relax at home, he couldn't.  

"I was physically there, but emotionally and mentally gone,” he said in the video. “I was constantly thinking about what I can do next.”  

He remembers every dead body he saw on the job.   

And even some of the living were pretty creepy.  

Reichert interviewed serial killer Ted Bundy in prison to get inside the mind of a killer.  

Bundy reportedly suggested the killer was having sexual relations with the dead bodies, which turned out to be the case.  

DNA identified Ridgway as the killer in 2001. After his arrest,  he told Reichert in a 2003 interview that he murdered 71 people and had sexual relations with them before killing them, too. He also said he targeted prostitutes.  

Rep. Dave Reichert joined the King County Sheriff's Office in 1972. (Courtesy Rep. Dave Reichert)
Rep. Dave Reichert joined the King County Sheriff's Office in 1972. (Courtesy Rep. Dave Reichert)

By 2004 — a year before he was elected to the House — Reichert published an autobiography titled "Chasing the Devil: My Twenty-Year Quest to Capture the Green River Killer. "  

Reichert also talked about his law enforcement career in a Townhall op-ed  for Peace Officers Memorial Day and National Police Week this month.   

“Like my friends and those who lost their lives before and after them, officers are willing to sacrifice their life for those they serve,” he wrote.  

He paid tribute to the friends he lost in the line of duty and honored families going through the same loss. And he spoke about tensions between local police and their communities.  

“We, as a country, cannot let this continue. We must return to civility,” he wrote.  

Get breaking news alerts and more from Roll Call on your iPhone or your Android.