Former FBI Special Agent Jerri Williams has returned to her roots now that she has retired from her most recent gig, that of serving as the head of SEPTA’s media relations office. At the time, she announced that she was going to work on a crime novel based on her previous career, but since then, she’s found a way to make true crime stories riveting as an interviewer. She also has a great source for these stories: her fellow former FBI agents, who she interviews for her new podcast, “FBI Retired Case File Review with Jerri Williams.”
The idea came to her, she said, while she was taking walks around her neighborhood while she had the time. “It came from out of the blue,” she said. “This time last year, I knew what a podcast was, but I wasn’t listening to them. I was reading blogs about writing and marketing a book. But after I retired, I had more time, and as I was walking around, I started listening to podcasts.”
The next step in the chain was reconnecting with her FBI colleagues via the Charles Reed Philadelphia Chapter of the Society of Former FBI Special Agents. “I went to their holiday meeting, and I was sitting around watching my friends who hadn’t worked for years, and it hit me: I could interview them for a podcast!” she said.
“FBI Retired Case File Review” features former agents discussing some of their favorite and most high-profile cases — “the cases that made the newspaper and TV,” she said. “Sometimes people have an idea of what happened” in those cases, she continued, “but the agents have that additional behind-the-scenes information.
“Whenever we [in law enforcement] get together, we all have our ‘war stories’ we like to share. This was a chance to open it up and let the public listen in.”
So far, the public response has been enthusiastic, if downloads from the iTunes Store are any guide. The podcast has been featured in the “New and Noteworthy” section all this week, and Williams says that 14,000 copies have been downloaded.
So far, Williams has produced four episodes, and she aims to produce a new one each week. So far, her interviewees have all been agents in the FBI’s Philadelphia division, but she has plans to reach out to agents across the country to get them to share their best cases with her. “It’s interesting for me too, because I don’t know a lot about [these cases] either,” she said.
Doing the podcast also keeps her interviewing skills sharp, though this time as the interviewer rather than the subject, as she was often in her spokesperson roles at both SEPTA and the FBI. But she enjoys putting her skills to use in a new way: “I’m having a blast,” she said.
She’s still working on that book as well, by the way. She hopes that the people who enjoy the podcast will go out and buy it when it’s published.
Don’t have access to the iTunes Store? You can listen to the podcast on Stitcher.
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