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Alex Cabrero, Deseret News
Karen Kido with the Salt Lake City Police Department takes a look at prints taken from a crime scene. After 41 years of service with the department, she is retiring. Along with looking at fingerprints, she was known for her very detailed sketches that helped investigators identify criminals.

SALT LAKE CITY — It takes someone with a lot of talent to draw sketches good enough to be able to recognize someone who's wanted by law enforcement.

This is what Karen Kido loves to do.

But after four decades of making sure every little precise detail is recorded, she's ready to take it easy and retire.

Kido has been involved in every major Salt Lake police case for more than four decades. She is a talented artist who has been able to draw sketches with enough detail to help investigators identify criminals. It's a job she has really enjoyed.

"It's just so darn interesting," Kido said.

She started working for the Salt Lake City Police Department in 1972. She said it wasn't easy back then getting a job there as a woman, let alone an Asian woman.

"In the beginning, females weren't that present in law enforcement," she said.

She started in the records office and had a short stay in dispatch before finding her way to the crime lab where she put her artistic talents to work. She became a certified latent fingerprint examiner and an elite composite sketch artist.

"There's nothing like going to a burglary, lifting a print, coming back and (putting) it in AFIS (Automated Fingerprint Identification System), getting a hit, and then, 'Gosh, your case is solved,'" Kido said.

However, after 41 years of service, she has received recognition and several stars on her uniform. Officers earn a star for every five years in the field.

She was recently honored with the Salt Lake City’s Chief Civilian Employee of the Year award in recognition for her 40 years of service. Her co-workers say replacing her is impossible.

"Believe me, when she walks out that door, there's going to be tears," said crime lab supervisor Julene Lundsberg.

Kido said that it will be hard for her as well to no longer be working.

"Maybe I'll draw something pretty instead of something so practical-looking," she said.

Kido's looking forward to a big family reunion during the summer and maybe starting to do some yoga.

However, she admits that it will be hard for her to hear about a big case her co-workers are working on and to not be a part of it.

Email: acabrero@deseretnews.com