Read more about Karrin Murphy at: Wikipedia
Official Site: Jim Butcher
Murphy is introduced as an officer who works within the Special Investigations (SI) division of the Chicago Police Department, which handles cases in which something unexplainable or supernatural is involved. Traditionally SI has been a dumping ground for officers who have made mistakes, and frequently SI officers leave the force. The commander, in particular, usually only lasts a few months. Karrin Murphy is introduced in the first Dresden novel as the Lieutenant of the Division, kicked there for asking too many questions, but too connected to be drummed out of the force.
Murphy commands SI for several years (through Proven Guilty), in part because she was not afraid to deal with the supernatural, going so far as to occasionally hire Harry Dresden as a consultant for various unusual cases. Although her demotion to Sergeant is unfair, she does undertake actions that would have her removed from the force altogether. She lies on her police reports routinely (saying that she feels that she writes fiction). Instead of simply omitting unprovable, supernatural events, she invents crimes that believably suit the evidence. Her favorite tactic is inventing terrorists and bombs that do not exist, since her higher-ups find such things desirable.
Murphy has an extremely difficult decision to make in regards to her duties as a policewoman. On the one hand, she is a duly appointed law enforcement officer, charged with the protection of the public from human crime, who takes withholding evidence and information extremely seriously when it is in pursuit of her job and duties. On the other hand, she has become one of the 'clued-in' as of Summer Knight, and realizes that the information that was concealed from her was for her own protection, and that of the public at large. Her choice is to do her job properly and truthfully, and ignore the supernatural community, or to involve in vigilante work against supernatural creatures she decides are acting against the public interest. Thus, to perform both her duties as a police officer, and her greater self-appointed duty to protect the public, she is often forced to engage in activities outside the scope of a law enforcement officer's proper purview. For instance, while she would no more brutalize a standard suspect in a questioning room then any other officer, she did so to Binder, a human with knowledge of summoning, knowing that a) he'd never speak with a lawyer, b) it was going to be impossible (and extremely dangerous to her fellow officers) to keep him incarcerated with his abilities, and c) it was a great distraction for what was really going on. Murphy has come to realize that standard human laws and protocols, and the bureaucracy that goes with them, are completely incapable of dealing with the true reality of things (a decision confirmed by the slaughter during the jailbreak of the loup-garou she incarcerated in Fool Moon), and in her self-appointed pursuit of protecting and 'policing' the supernatural community, she is willing to let slide violations of the law that she would not tolerate during mundane duties; as the creatures she is facing have no belief or respect for human law, she also disregards it. As a result, Murphy has taken upon herself the distasteful job of using highly questionable tactics against creatures nobody wants to believe exist, and taking actions outside the scope of law enforcement boundaries to protect the people of Chicago, without their knowledge.
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