Normally I don t do book reviews, but I had to make an exception for True Blue, To Serve and Protect. This is a very different type of cop book. First, it s not fiction, and it s not full of drunken, divorced, down-on-their-luck deadbeat detectives. Second, it s not one cop s story, but the stories of more than 50 law officers from around the country. Their stories range from heartbreaking to hilarious just like real police work. The editor/author, Randy Sutton, is a Las Vegas Metro lieutenant with more than two decades of real police work under his belt.
Regardless of your assignment or years of service, you ll be moved to reflect on your own experiences as you read this book, probably recognizing a bit of yourself in many of the stories. And you may even find you know one or more of the authors I recognized three! In fact, our own Tim Dees, editor of LawOfficer.com, has a story in the book in which he recounts an unforgettable experience with a ridealong named Steve.
I had an opportunity to review a pre-release version of the book and talk with Sutton extensively at the International Law Enforcement Educators and Trainers Association (ILEETA) conference last month in Chicago. I started the book on the last night of the conference and ended up finishing it on the plane home before writing this review. In spite of running almost 300 pages of text-only stories, the book is definitely a page turner. Each story is only two or three pages long, and I kept thinking, Just one more story and I ll get started on my work. But then I wanted to see what the next one was like and ended up reading them all.
Just like departments and cops around the country, the stories are different and definitely reflect the wide variety of challenges and characters faced in police work. Here s a small excerpt from a story by Rocky Mound, N.C., Senior Officer (ret.) Greg Brown, who was permanently sidelined due to a shooting:
I tell people that my story is not a big deal. But let s be honest: Some days are really hard. I lost my career, I lost my vocation, because of that asshole. I had to find a whole new way of life. I was a damned good police officer. Still, my story is a testimony to being able to survive a line-of-duty shooting. Even though I don t do police work now, I still respect the job and the badge. I pray every day for my fellow officers everywhere.
This isn t the first time Sutton has put together a book of true-life cop stories.
His first book, True Blue, came out after Sutton was moved to help the victims of Sept. 11. This time, Sutton has his sights set on helping the National Law Enforcement Memorial. He hopes to raise more than $500,000 by donating more than $10 of every book sale directly to the National Memorial Fund if you buy from the Fund s Web site (www.NLEOMF.com). To encourage and support that effort, we ll give you access to a different story every few days on our new Web site, LawOfficer.com. To learn how you can access these stories, read the True Blue story below.
If you ever wished you had a way to convey effectively to friends or relatives what it s really like to be a cop, get them a copy of this book it will definitely do the job. And if you have a buddy who s become a little jaded after too many disappointments in their career, this book will definitely remind them it s an honor and a privilege to serve.
Dale Stockton is the editor of Law Officer.