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Friday, July 29, 2011

Urban Fiction: Living it Out - Day Eight

As a police officer, there are many tools placed at our disposal available for our use. One of these, and probably one of the least talked about is the vest….The bulletproof vest.

Over my twenty plus years, I have worn a great many styles and types of vest. From the ‘it’s so heavy I can barely move’ to the ‘this feels like cotton wrapped around my gut’. (Smile.)

I can remember my first vest was so thick and heavy; I would have to use my hands occasionally to lift it and let a breeze under just to cool off. My latest vest is from the opposite end of the spectrum and feels more like a thick tee shirt.

So after five plus years it’s finally time for a new vest. The new ones are a very cool dark blue and look kind of like the one Batman wore in “The Dark Knight”, but without all the added muscles. The good thing is that it is lightweight and flexible. Having it be able to stop a bullet is a major plus, however.

Another bad thing about a vest –for those of you who have never had to wear one- after a while they can begin to stink. You know the sweaty gym locker room kind of stink. It’s a healthy stink as stinks go, but it stinks nonetheless. So, yeah, I’m really looking forward to my new vest. But, on the other hand, I was thinking maybe Febreeze should send us all a check for the boost in stock value we have given them. One good turn deserves another, right? (Smile) Just saying…

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Urban Fiction: Living it Out - Day Seven.1

As a cop, I get tired of my brothers, the Firemen, getting all the glory. They ride around in their shiny red trucks and everybody applauds them; ladies throw flower in their path as they drive by. Well, maybe not that bad, but you get my point.

I’d just like to say we cops do some pretty terrific things too. This time of year is especially so. When the heat outside rises upward toward a hundred degrees Fahrenheit, the inside of your car –yes, even with the windows cracked – can be a virtual oven. Earlier this week, I got a call of an animal locked in a car. The poor thing was cooking in its own juices. After executing an emergency extraction, I had to run cool water over her just to get her body temp low enough for her to move and function on her own. Please, let’s not even bring up the topic of children being locked in cars.

So, the next time you see a patrol car go whizzing by you, just think…maybe it’s going to save the life of a distressed animal. Sure, maybe we don’t climb ladders to get stuck kittens out of trees, but we do our fair share too. Who knows, maybe, Nate can manage to save a few critters in one of his upcoming adventures. It would be par for the course after all. We cops are heroes too. (Smile) Just saying…

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Urban Fiction: Living it Out - Day Seven

I’ve finished re-training!!!

After a great week, I finally got the news I’ve been waiting for, for the last six weeks. I’ll tell you how it happened. The shift started like it always does, fast. Right out the gate, one of my partners stops this guy, a really bad guy, and invites him to a stay at the county resort. (Smile)

Then, I stopped this lady who was driving a vehicle that hadn’t been registered in over three months. That was bad, but what I gave her a ticket for was not insuring her vehicle. I explained to her that I could overlook her tardiness in getting registered –for another day or so- but she couldn’t risk hitting someone and not being able to take care of the resulting problem. That was my day; well that was the pattern of my day.

Then at the end of the night my FTO- Field Training Officer- pulls me aside and says, “You’re done. You’re on your own.” Hallelujah! Needless to say, that was music to my ears.

So starting next week, I have my car to myself and I won’t have to listen to country music anymore. Hey, I’m not hating, but I’m more of a talk radio kind of guy. (Smile).

Now, the question is, how can I work this sense of promotion and freedom into Nate’s existence? Isn’t writing fiction wonderful? As one of my favorite quotes goes, “Fiction is just reality that hasn’t happened yet.” Just saying…

Monday, July 25, 2011

Urban Fiction: Living it Out - Day Six

Last night…do I even have to talk about last night? To be fair, I guess I should. To put it bluntly, I stunk. It’s not like I didn’t do some pretty good things, it’s just that I did one or two really stupid things. I made rookie mistakes…first year cop mistakes, not a twenty-two year veteran mistake. Thank God, no one got hurt and nothing was loss, but it just stunk that I messed up so badly.

What did I do? You would ask that. Well actually, I got lost in my own city. Here I was driving around going to answer a call when all of a sudden nothing was familiar. I mean it’s been almost ten years since I drove a black and white around the city. And at night…well that just made it worse. Thankfully, the call was not an emergency, but I still stunk up the place.

The good news is that tonight I did much better. Yes, I took bad guys to jail, but this time it was bitter sweet. Sometimes it is. Here I was placing big brother into cuffs while little brother sat in the passenger side seat crying. Yes, big brother needed to go to jail…and he did, but it was just a little sad to watch a teenage boy cry because his brother is getting arrested.

I think about my character, Nate Richards, and all the adjustments he makes as he faces the various situations in the course of a story; how many lives he comes in contact with. That’s what I’m trying to bring to my readers, to help my fans understand what it is really like to be on this side of the badge. Sometimes the arrest is a big hurrah and at others times not so much. It’s just the way life goes. Just saying.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Urban Fiction: Living it Out - Day Five

Entered the last phase of retraining tonight and wouldn’t you know it…it turned out to be a pretty flat evening. Ten hours and about 61 miles of driving later and still, I did not have a whole lot to show for my efforts.

The shift began pretty good, a promising traffic stop followed by an assist with a possible drug arrest. But, just like a two-day-old soda, it went flat. The first stopped turned out to be teens driving grandparents car on their way to a school event. Nothing. The second stop…well it wasn’t even my stop, but it turned out to be nothing as well.

Then when I’m finally on my way to get my coveted Diet Coke…oh yes, Diet Coke, bam! I drive right into the middle of a traffic accident. No, I wasn’t in the accident, I mean I drove right up on it just after it had occurred. So, it’s like fishing, you catch it you clean it.

So after the traffic report was done it was more trolling just looking for the bad guy, the criminal element. You know all the fun stuff we cops like to do.

One thought though, if you’re gonna have a yard sale or a garage sale, make sure to keep your money and your purse well away from where your “Shoppers” will be perusing. It just might save you a lot of trouble and a whole bucket of tears. Just saying.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Urban Fiction: Living it Out - Day Four

Retraining continues. Eight days in patrol and 11 arrests. That’s a lot of trip to jail. Even though in the beginning I was not looking forward to going back to patrol, now I have to confess the love for the streets has been re-ignited in me.

The shift work and the rotations are things to be adjusted to, but the htrill of getting out and inserting myself between the criminal element and the good people of my community….Wow! That is one great feeling.

I can’t wait to build some of these experiences back into the Nate Richards character. It can only serve to make the stories richer and more full. I already have one foot-pursuit to add, who knows what will be next…Well on the streets that’s just the tick isn’t you never know what will be next.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Urban Fiction: Living it Out - Day Three

What comes to your mind when you hear the words, “Foot pursuit”? Well I’ll tell you what came to my mind as I was sitting at the station and the tone alert was broadcast.

There I was sitting around enjoying a cup of coffee and going over my paperwork with the day’s assignments when all of a sudden my partner’s voice breaks over the radio speaker. “Code-three assist! Subject fleeing on foot.”

What followed next was controlled chaos. Sirens screaming and tires squealing. Smoke rising and sweat dripping…into my eyes.

Remember what I said about working out? Well today put all that to the test. Here I am the “old guy” working the perimeter when I begin to pray, “Lord lead me to this guy…show me which way I need to go.” Then as if on cue the suspect pops out of the brush about a hundred yards ahead of me. I identify him and give the order, “Stop police!”

You know what he did, right? He took off running. I updated my partners and took off after this guy. Two fences later…that’s right, I jumped the fences, and a slow search later, I had the bad-guy in custody.

Yes, I was sweaty and a bit tired, but I had run down the suspect who was half my age and got him into cuff’s and into my rear seat ready to go to jail. That’s the thing about working the streets, you never know what the day will bring.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Urban Fiction: Living it Out - Day Two(a)

Since I’m on my weekend break, technically I’m still on day two. The big thing with getting back in the role of a street cop is the need or feel of the need to be in better physical shape. While working in CID it was extremely hard for me to maintain a regular routine of working out. Between court, late investigations, and my work with the church…not to mention being a family man, having time to workout seemed impossible.

Perception creates reality.

Well being back on the streets changed my perception, which as you know necessitates a change in my reality. So guess what, now I’m working out three to four times a week regularly. So this was a good thing. I kind of imagine my character Nate Richards as a 20 something version of myself, young, single and a committed health-nut and physical trainer. However, being back in the real world, I am faced with retooling this much older frame of mine.

Tomorrow begins my last week of retraining before I get set loose on my own. Speaking from experience, there is nothing like having your front seat clear and free… that means no one sitting in the passenger side seat judging your every move and second guessing your every thought. At least that’s what it feels like when you’re the trainee. Now add to this the fact that I was driving a patrol car when most of these people were being born or still in elementary school. Life is funny, huh?

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Urban Fiction: Living it Out - Day Two

When you have done a thing for so long that it has become second nature, you have a tendency to take some things for granted. This was me as I got back into a patrol car for the first time in almost ten years. Well to be honest, I had been in one more recently but only as a rider and not the primary officer.

One of the things that got my attention was just how much gear I had to wear. As an American man, I am of average height and weight. I stand five feet, 10 inches tall and weigh approximately 214 pounds. When I am dressed for work, I go from 214 pounds to almost 250 just by adding my gear. My belt alone weighs almost 26 pounds depending on what I am carrying.

Now add to that an almost 50 year old back and you begin to see just some of the problems I had in getting re-acculturated to patrol life. And I haven’t even begun to talk about my sleep cycle.

Like my character Nate, who is making the opposite transition, from patrol to detective life, I am having to learn the rules all over again. All the little things about the workday, how I talk to people and why. The settings for contacts with the various people I meet and how the fourth amendment of the constitution applies. It is all pretty wonderful. And on top of all this I have several different sergeants to deal with, unlike in CID – that’s another name for detectives – where I only had one. If I had hair, I’m sure by now it would be gray.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Urban Fiction: Living it Out

As many of you know, by virtue of having read my book NHI: No Humans Involved, I write about a police detective – Nate Richards – who is a rookie and thrust into some pretty harried situations. When I started writing this series, I was completing my first decade as a detective and my seventh year as a sex crimes investigator. That in and of itself was a fascinating position to be in.

But, as of the 1st of June, I have been reassigned to the “streets” and have found it to be quite the adventure and thought I would share that with you. Just like my character, Nate, I am finding the new transition very exciting as well as very challenging.

So, as I am re-introduced to the skills and tests of working the streets and stretching myself to learn the new skills needed to work the streets in 2011, I would like to take you along and share some of my triumphs as well as my pit falls along the way. Why don’t you join me as I, like Nate Richards, goes back to the streets.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Urban Fiction Unleashed: Nothing New Under The Sun

Urban Fiction Unleashed: Nothing New Under The Sun: "W hen I read Ecclesiastes 1: 9, “The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done..."

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Urban Fiction Unleashed: "Its All In The Game"

Urban Fiction Unleashed: "Its All In The Game": "A s the old song says, 'Many a tear will have to fall, but it’s all in the game.'   The only real question is which game is being playe..."