Tuesday, May 5, 2009

A Cop's Life

A person I'm close to is going to school to become a police officer. On a recommendation from someone who also has a friend/family member who is a cop, I just finished A Cop's Life by Randy Sutton. Sutton is a Sergeant with the Las Vegas PD, and has also appeared in a couple movies and TV shows like COPS and America's Most Wanted.

The book is a compilation of vignettes from Sutton's time as a police officer. Each chapter could be its own mini episode of COPS or the "law" part of Law & Order. As with any reality TV show or memoir-type book, some editing goes in to it to keep it exciting. Nearly all his stories involve homicide, suicide, armed robbery - all the scary things police officers deal with throughout their career. There are only a few references to the boredom, the paper work or the sweet stories that every-day cops would tell you is how they spend a majority of their days. Fortunately, I realize this about the book, and I know how pretty low-crime our metro area is (especially compared to Las Vegas), or else the book could really scare me.

I also think Sutton - at least I hope so - may be a minority in the police world. He talks a bit about living alone, not being able to hold a relationship due to work, thinking about suicide (police officers have twice the death rate of civilians because of suicide risk) because of all the things he's seen and held on to, etc. I'm willing to bet that while many experiences probably stick with and turn the stomachs of police officers out there, a majority of them can function in their civilian lives and can maintain healthy relationships with their friends and families.

So, unless you're a huge cop drama fan or simply just curious, I don't know if everyone needs to read this book. If you've read other real-life cop stories that you'd recommend, please let me know. I think I'm going to next look into True Blue, The Funniest Cop Stories Ever, and Blue Blood. It's always good to get more than one perspective.

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