‘Peak Season’ launches this summer

'Peak Season' launches this summer

The big day awaits. After years of writing nonfiction, and what seems like years of pitching to agents, I’m publishing my first novel this summer. Peak Season is the first in what I hope will become a series about CW McCoy, a police officer turned real estate agent who’s blackmailed into helping a killer clear …

Celebrating openness with the SPD

Celebrating openness with the SPD

We gather on the second floor of the Sarasota Police Department to celebrate our graduation. There’s a cake, a couple of proud parents and about 20 members of the SPD Citizens Academy. We’re a collection of real estate agents and financial advisers, retirees and writers. We have come to peek into the guarded world of …

Riding with the blues

Riding with the blues

Officer Bryant Singley walks into the glass and metal headquarters of the Sarasota Police Department with a shell casing in a surgical glove and heads upstairs to the evidence room. Someone found the brass in a yard and called the police. It’s a minor matter, no crime has been reported, but Singley takes his time …

With drug trade, big wheel keeps on turnin’

With drug trade, big wheel keeps on turnin’

The driver with the dreadlocks to his shoulders backs into the parking space at Marina Jack’s and powers down the window. He’s looking to buy 200 oxycodone pills from an undercover agent posing as a dealer.  The agent, a man with graying hair and a shirt slung over his shoulder, leans in to talk. As …

Traffic stops: the good, the bad, the nightmare

Traffic stops: the good, the bad, the nightmare

It was supposed to be a routine traffic stop. Two Middlefield, Ohio police officers pull over a Saturn sedan for running a stop sign in March of 2013. In the video, the sky’s a typical washed-out winter blue. Cars keep rolling down the street as if nothing’s happening in this town of 2,700, located 45 …

At the gun range, a cautionary tale

At the gun range, a cautionary tale

After hours of instruction, we file onto the gun range and prepare to shoot. Three officers have reviewed the standard-issue weapons of the Sarasota Police Department: a Glock 22 handgun, a Colt AR-15 rifle and a Remington 870 pump shotgun. Today we’re going to fire the Glock. Dressed in our white shirts with the blue …

Street fighting men and women

Street fighting men and women

The patrol car camera shows officers of the Cottonwood Police Department approaching a family in a Wal-Mart parking lot after midnight on March 21, 2015. The police are responding to an alleged assault of a Wal-Mart employee, a relatively routine call in Arizona, or anywhere. When they arrive, they find eight people milling around what …

‘Not just a gun and a badge’

‘Not just a gun and a badge’

“Police officers are human,” Training Officer Jeffrey Dunn tells members of the Sarasota Police Department’s Citizens Academy. “Some of them do stupid things sometimes.” And some of them do good and brave things. Genevieve Judge, the department’s public information officer, wants to get both of those messages to the media and the public. She knows …

Inside the yellow tape

Inside the yellow tape

The phone rings at 2 a.m. Dispatch reports two unresponsive adults in a car in a parking garage next to Kari’s Restaurant. Officers have secured the scene. Detectives from the Criminal Investigation Division, or CID, are on the way. As part of the Criminalistics Unit, so are we. Our team walks into the parking garage …

Damned if you do, dead if you don’t

Damned if you do, dead if you don’t

Tonight’s the night we’re either going to shoot someone or die. And that makes some of us nervous. The subject in the Sarasota Police Department’s Citizen Academy is one of the most timely and controversial in all of law enforcement—the use of force by officers. To give us an idea of the challenges they face, …

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