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A Memoir of a Career Street Officer


Perusal of the True Crime section of almost any bookstore reveals a good selection of books depicting undercover law enforcement agents daringly outwitting the bad guys to bring down drug cartels and mob bosses through elaborate stings and covert operations. Plainclothes detectives get their fair share of titles devoted to exploits investigating high profile murder cases or serial killers. The glorification of police investigators is further solidified through numerous TV shows and movies.

On the academic side, journals and textbooks give police chiefs and administrators the opportunity to describe police work and its dynamics from a managerial perspective. Still other police specialists provide instructional guides to such things as tactical operations, crime scene investigations, and responses to special incidents.

Glaringly missing in the wide array of police resources is the perspective of the everyday first responder: the career patrol officer. As underrepresented as the patrol officer is, he is the real backbone of any police department. He or she is the first to respond to everything. It’s not the SWAT team, not the brilliant gumshoe detective, and almost never the chief of police who arrives first at every incident. It is the patrol officer—no matter how large or small the incident is, and no matter what time of day. Whether it’s something as big as the attacks on the World Trade Center or as small as a fender bender, the patrol officer is the first responder.

Reviews of – Real Cop

“Dave Leonard’s Real Cop takes the Hollywood glitz and drama off of the American police officer’s typical career.  I worked with Dave both on patrol and as a union steward.  His descriptions of the politicians, bureaucrats, police chiefs and other bottom-feeders who constantly make life difficult for the honorable men and women of law enforcement are totally on point.  Prepare to be exposed to the truth.”

– Mike Woronko, Labor Attorney & Retired Police Officer

“Being a retired police officer and union leader, this was hard to read at times because of the brutal honesty.  Dave puts his heart and soul into his writing of this book.  He is much more honest about his feelings, and how the vast majority of officers feel at different times of their careers.  It made me take a good look at myself.  This is a must reading for anyone that wants to know what goes on in a patrol officer’s mind during their career.  Thank you for putting this all out there Dave.”

– Edward S. Hillyer, Retired Police Officer, Retired Union President, Police Labor Representative

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