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Homicide Detective And Former Deputy Advance To Final Round Of ‘America’s Got Talent’

Los Angeles, CA – A homicide detective and a former sheriff’s deputy will be competing against other talented performers for the top prize of $1 million and a chance to headline a show in Las Vegas during the final round of NBC’s America’s Got Talent (AGT) this week.

In addition to performing country music in the Chicago area where he resides, Austin Edwards, 44, is also a homicide detective supervisor for the West Suburban Major Crimes Task Force in Cook County, IL, he told The Police Tribune on Monday.

His bandmate, former Will County Sheriff’s Office (WCSO) deputy Joey Kar, 37, has been a professional musician in the Chicago area for 15 years.

In 2019, Kar resigned from the sheriff’s office in order to open up a music school for children, Det. Edwards told The Police Tribune.

Despite playing in many of the same venues for years, Kar and Det. Edwards didn’t cross paths until 2019.

“In our job, we see a lot of things that, quite frankly, we don’t want other people to see,” Edwards explained during the duo’s AGT audition. “Our outlet became music.”

“We ended up playing the same circuit for quite some time,” Kar added. “Then randomly, he came to a show, we ended up clicking, and so we came together to form Broken Roots.”

Broken Roots formed just six months prior to auditioning for the nationally-televised competition.

“Well, let’s see if the next two or three minutes can change your lives,” AGT executive producer and judge Simon Cowell told them at the time.

Their rendition of Bon Jovi’s “Dead or Alive” garnered them a standing ovation from the crowd and four “yes” votes from the judging panel, according to NBC.

Broken Roots was later eliminated during Judge Cuts, but came back with a vengeance after another performer dropped out of the competition, USA Today reported.

They went on to become the first act to move forward to the finals competition.

“You’re like the little engine that could,” AGT judge Heidi Klum said. “You were on the show. You got voted off the show. You are back on the show and now you’re cruising full speed ahead to the finale. And now you have the chance to win this thing.”

Det. Edwards told The Police Tribune that Broken Roots’ music is all about bringing people together – especially considering the severe anti-law enforcement sentiment that has been sweeping the nation in recent months.

“We believe that good things come to good and righteous people,” he said. “Now more than ever, our world could use a little more positivity, inspiration, happiness, and the feeling of coming together.”

“One of the most beautiful things about music is, it doesn’t matter what race, color, national origin, sex, religion or age you are,” Det. Edwards continued. “If you like the song, you just wanna dance and sing along. Our music and social platform is one of love, honesty, positivity and respect to one another as one race. The Human Race.”

Det. Edwards said that the experiences he and Kar have had as law enforcement officers has also had an impact on their music.

“To sing with passion, you gotta dig deep into your heart for the emotion of the message of the song. Every song will affect everyone just a little different,” he told The Police Tribune. “Being in Law Enforcement allows you to access the emotions of a song or message that we are too often required to disconnect from in order to do our jobs efficiently. This translation is easily heard as authentic and genuine emotion while performing.”

Broken Roots has also received a lot of support from the law enforcement community.

“Both Joey and I have been supported beyond measure by our peers. Again, showing the what the ‘Thin Blue Line’ Truly stands for,” Det. Edwards said. “The ‘Thin Blue Line’ isn’t [about] the police [being] separate from the people we serve, but rather [separating] Good from Evil, the right from wrong and the justice from injustice.”

Broken Roots is proud and thankful for the opportunity to perform in the nationally-televised AGT competition, and encourages viewers to tune in and vote for their favorite performers.

The AGT two-night finale kicks off on Tuesday night.

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Written by
Holly Matkin

Holly is a former probation and parole officer who is married to a sheriff’s deputy. She is a regular contributor to Signature Montana magazine, and has written feature articles for Distinctly Montana magazine.

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