OGDEN — As COVID-19 raged and people stayed home in summer 2020, Mike King's children finally convinced him to do a true-crime video and post it on YouTube.
"It was going to be one time, so the kids would realize nobody wanted to hear this drivel," said King, who has four decades in the law enforcement field, starting as an Ogden police officer.
"It was a chance to do something with my kids during COVID," King said. "We tried it, and it seemed to resonate with people."
Today, that one video has grown into a multiplatform operation called Profiling Evil. It includes a podcast, a website, a YouTube channel, a newsletter and a place for people to submit cold cases they want the program to cover.
"We'd been pushing him for a while," said King's son-in-law, Tyler Cahoon, who co-owns Circa3, a local video production company. "He has a lot of neat experiences. People like that stuff right now, so we threw together a video and it did really well."
King's deep background as an investigator and profiler lends authority to Profiling Evil, but during an interview, he deflected credit for the program to Cahoon and its two other principals: his son, Skyeler King, and Tim Sessions, who also runs the ThisIsOgden Instagram account.
"We're kind of in the background," Cahoon said. "Mike is the star."
On a recent episode titled "Choir Practice" — its name derived from, according to King, the excuse police gave 50 years ago when they went to a bar rather than home after their shift — King smoothly interviewed Ogden Police Chief Eric Young and Weber County Sheriff Ryan Arbon.
"This is a little uncomfortable for him," Cahoon said of his father-in-law. "He doesn't want to be in the limelight. He's a very humble man. He's had to get used to this."
On the same show where the two local lawmen appeared, King interviewed members of Adventures with Purpose, a team that travels the country to scuba dive in bodies of water where people may have gone missing.
King said they've found five bodies in the past year, capping cases and bringing closure to relatives.
Last fall, Profiling Evil set up mapping and real-time tracking for 700 searchers for the family of Suzanne Morphew, a Colorado mother who was missing and presumed murdered.
King said his son, Skyeler, traveled to Colorado to support the search.
Speaking of closure, how about solving a 3,300-year-old murder?
King is a co-author of "Who Killed King Tut?", a 2006 book recounting the work of King and another detective, who used modern forensic science to zero in on a likely suspect in the death of Egyptian Pharaoh Tutankhamen.
King has written half a dozen other books focusing on profiling and related investigative topics. For research on serial killers, he once interviewed Richard Ramirez, the Night Stalker killer who terrorized California in the 1980s.
Closer to home, King had stints as chief of staff for the Weber County attorney and the Utah attorney general and directed the Utah Criminal Tracking and Analysis Program.
King was co-chair of the FBI’s Violent Criminal Apprehension Program National Advisory Board, reviewing policy and procedures in the creation of a national database for missing persons, unidentified bodies and unsolved homicides.
His full-time job today is as global director of fraud and emergency communications solutions for Esri, a worldwide company. He said in that role he has helped the largest police departments in the world implement and operate real-time crime centers.
For Profiling Evil, King said he has a simple philosophy.
"I have one goal only. Law enforcement has taken some really hard hits in the public eye. Someone needs to re-humanize the people who are police officers," King said.
So he interviews police from around the country about investigative advances, unsolved cases and how police go about things.
"We shed light on cases for families and just teach principles about investigations to the layman," King said.
In that vein, he asked Arbon and Young to talk about what people should do if they find potential evidence or witness a crime.
Don't pick up the evidence, they said. Call police. Provide information and stay safe.
"Don't put yourself at risk," Young said.
King said Profiling Evil does not investigate cases — "That needs to be left to the professionals," he said — "but I am comfortable sharing my opinion on investigative processes."
As an example, King said he has explained why police sometimes don't share a lot of details with victims. It's usually because they need to keep some things close to the vest to preserve an investigation.
Tips on cold cases received by Profiling Evil are pushed on to the relevant police agencies.
"Frankly, it's an honor to do this," King said. "I just want people to know there are isolated cases of horrible mistakes, but 99% of law enforcement people truly are public servants working their guts out."
Cahoon said he agrees "100 percent" with that goal, another reason he and the others are thrilled to help further the mission.
"It's really fun to see people start to learn about the profession and its processes," Cahoon said. "There are a lot of angry people out there at law enforcement, but they might not know about or understand procedures."
He added, "None of this is to justify any of the terrible things that have happened in the profession. It's to humanize law enforcement."
Cahoon's wife, Whitney, who is King's daughter, also helped bring Profiling Evil into being.
"She's been a big proponent of this for a long time," Cahoon said. "She listens to a lot of true-crime podcasts and she recommends what we should do for content."
King, 62, said he's had his "day in the sun" and expects his children, Cahoon and Sessions to carry on with Profiling Evil, as they are building it now.
"I provide some background to add some credibility, but they're the ones doing all the work behind the scenes," including booking guests and doing marketing, King said.
King said the YouTube channel has 54,000 subscribers and averages half a million views per month.