Equipped with an iPhone, a retired female FBI agent has ventured into the world of podcasts with a new series about criminal investigations.
Former SEPTA spokeswoman Jerri Williams who spent 26 years with the FBI, may not have an elaborate studio set-up beyond the iPhone and produces her own podcast. But while trying to sell her first crime fiction book, she has turned her investigative talents in retirement to hosting her own new podcast in which she discusses major investigations with other retired agents.
"I just did this on my own. I didn't do any research to see if anybody else was doing it," Williams said. "I just realized I could do a podcast and interview retired agents, because their cases would all have been adjudicated."
In her first few podcasts, Williams talks to a Philly native and retired Behavioral Analysis Unit profiler who worked the Unabomber and D.CC sniper cases; a retired female agent who spent 30 years mostly on drug investigations; and an agent whose investigations of crimes from bank robbery to corruption took him from New York to Puerto Rico.
"I have a curiosity, which is probably why I became an FBI agent, to ask questions and learn things," Williams said. "That's what we do at the FBI: talk to people, interview them, and try to get information out of them."
The new podcast is the latest foray into new work for Williams, who just retired from SEPTA last year.
She said she hasn't missed her old job at SEPTA yet. The recent snowstorm was the first one in years where she didn't have to stay in the office overnight.
She is still trying with her agent to sell her first novel, "Pay to Play," to a publisher, and considering self-publishing, while hoping to get progress made on her second book.
"It's extremely competitive," she said.
Looking back into the work of her former FBI colleagues from around the country is especially satisfying for Williams as one of the first women to work at the FBI.
"I came in about six years after women had been allowed to be in the bureau," Williams said. "My first five years... were kind of rough. I did find some resistance. But after that, absolutely none."
"I spent most of my career doing fraud and corruption, Ponzi schemes, bank schemes, and I was good at it. That's the most important thing for agents -- is the agent pulling his or her weight? If they are, there really is no issue, no problem."