For 25 years, peace officer Robert T. Christensen patrolled the streets of Kalamazoo, keenly aware every decision he made could have serious, even fatal, consequences. He learned this lesson early in his career, when a belligerent suspect beat the young rookie unconscious.
Throughout his career, Christensen made a habit of reviewing his actions. What tactics had he used? What immediate circumstances prompted his decisions? Could a slight change in strategy have improved the outcome? Viewing every situation as a learning experience molded Christensen into one of Kalamazoo's top cops.
Out of the Darkness and into the Blue recounts the most significant encounters in Christensen's career, but is more than the exciting memoirs of a veteran police officer. Christensen follows each chapter with a thorough analysis, discussing tactics, and training concepts relevant to his experiences.
Along the way, Christensen tackles many of the most important topics in law enforcement today, from racial profiling and deadly force to the challenges LGBT individuals face in a predominantly heterosexual field.
A fascinating exploration of one police officer's thought processes, Out of the Darkness and into the Blue is an entertaining listen and valuable resource for anyone learning about - or serving in - the criminal justice system.
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couldn't stop listening
- Amir Khillah
“Just the facts ma’am”
Yes. I found it a compelling read.
I liked that one can see the humanity of the writer despite the effect of professional detachment.
Dumb question, it is a memoir. There is only one character. Although the narrator did a brilliant job.
“Just the facts ma’am”
In his memoir of his career as a Public Safety Officer and Military Man, Mr. Christensen adopts the tone of the old TV series Dragnet and its star character Jack Webb. The author studiously keeps his emotional life well battened down and presents the material in a, “Just the facts ma’am” approach of that famous series. The result is a non-sentimental look at his career broken by the staccato of radio police chatter when describing events. This is not a touchy feely tell all book. The author remains as emotionally armored up as he describes his life and events as he says he did in the locker room getting ready to go on duty to deal with everything from the mundane offences to handling the human detritus of bad choices and horrific crimes. However, with all of the assumed indifference of professional detachment something human does come through of the man underneath the badge.
We as citizens demand a lot of our law enforcement people. I use the term people as opposed to officer as we often forget there are people underneath the badges and color of authority. We may not like that we are getting a ticket as opposed to a warning as our self-important lives are interrupted by our own inattention to the speed limit of other infraction, however, there is usually no malice in the enforcement duty being performed.
The same officer that has just annoyed you by a citation may well be the one that is breathing life into you as you lie by your car unconscious from an accident.
What I found most valuable was being able to see into the mind of an officer as he makes mistakes and quickly attains the professional poise we expect of public law enforcers. Mr. Christiansen reviles the strategy and thinking behind policing actions. Knowing what to expect is comforting to know as a citizen.
Despite his best efforts at professional detachment there are strong clues as to what type of man he was as an officer. The adjectives that spring to mind are principled, fair, compassionate, confident, yet he remains vulnerable when crap hits the fan such as the senseless death on duty of friends and colleges or citizens that were simply at the wrong place killed by a stray bullet. There are times the author confesses to feeling dead inside until time and opportunity presents him with a chance to save a life and restore his hope and joy in living. The man simply thrives for the opportunity to make a difference that counts. One tends to sense deep wells of emotion that is all buttoned up under his armor of professional detachment.
I look forward to seeing what else he might add to the literary world when his focus is not directed at himself. Perhaps he can share some of that intense feeling that lies just under the surface.