Cops Helping Cops
Fiction anthology authored by cops honors fallen officers.
Posted Mar 22, 2015
We’ve seen a lot of negative press these days about police officers, and no one denies that some have handled certain situations with poor judgment. For example, I was dismayed to watch a body-cam video of a Dallas cop fatally shooting a mentally ill man who was holding a small screwdriver. The mother had warned the officer that her son was ill, and the officer acted too fast to have fairly evaluated the situation.
However, we also see heartwarming kindnesses performed by officers, as well as those who go out of their way to assist someone. In my town yesterday, a cop pulled in a suicidal boy after everyone else had ignored him as he clung to the side of a bridge. More importantly, we sometimes forget that officers put their lives on the line. (In my area recently, a young officer in Philadelphia, Robert Wilson III, was killed as he tried to stop a robbery in progress.)
In short, like all professions, law enforcement contains a mix of personality types. We need to keep this in mind and not let the media skew our perceptions.
10-Code is an anthology of short stories written by law enforcement offers to honor the fallen. “Each and every law enforcement fatality contains a story that is both poignant and tragic,” states Craig Floyd in the dedication. “These stories must be documented and remembered through the passage of time.”
All proceeds from 10-CODE will benefit the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund in Washington, DC.
This collection offers a gritty rendering of police life, told by those on the front line, who use fiction to show what it’s like to lose a partner or colleague. There’s even a story dedicated to K-9s. We see the human side of these men and women, who go through an understandable range of emotions, from grief to anger to depression.
Betselling novelist John Gilstrap penned the foreword. He focuses on the primal need in some individuals to be of service to others, even when they witness the ugliest things that people can do to one another. Despite the stories being fiction, he says, “the emotions and the pain and anger are real. The sacrifice is real. The orphans are real.”
Among the ten contributors are several that I know from former homicide detective Lee Lofland’s annual Writers’ Police Academy:
Marco Conelli, creator of the Matthew Livingston series and a former NYPD detective, uses his story to show how challenging moral codes –personal and professional – can be.
Mike Roche, once a local cop and secret service agent, demonstrates that no case is invulnerable to surprises.
Scott Silverii, a police chief, “blends over 24 years of heart-stopping police experiences with an action-packed writing style, seasoned by the Mardi Gras, hurricanes, humidity, and crawfish étouffée.” He moved this project along, having lost seven personal friends in the line of duty.
Rick McMahan, a federal agent (OSI, ATF) for over 22 years, actually includes the memorial in a chilling scene – and the agents who look at the names inscribed on the wall know that their own name might one day be listed there.
Suzie Ivy (whom I don’t know), writes about an officer who develops a begrudging relationship with a K-9. This was my personal favorite, since I know how a dog can get under your skin, no matter how much you might resist. Ivy also brings attention to the fact that police dogs do get killed in the line of duty, more often than we might think.
10-Code is dedicated to a worthy cause and I’m happy to help make it more visible.