TEXAS COP AUTHORS (AND A MR. THOMAS UPDATE)
Every cop has at least one story to tell and it is surprising how many of them have chosen to become authors. But before I go there, I want to update last week’s story about Mr. Thomas, the guy whose race prevented him from doing things other cops did routinely, served as an officer for over 60 years, saw enormous change in racial attitudes toward black police officers, and became one of the most revered officers in Houston, Texas.
I enjoyed writing last week’s blog about Mr. Thomas, but I never realized how popular the story would be, nor how many people would comment to me about Mr. Thomas after reading the story. Usually my Monday morning blogs about Crimes, Criminals, and the Cops Who Chase Them generate two to four hundred readers during the first week. Mr. Thomas’ story was visited by nearly 3000 last week, becoming the most popular blog I have published to date.
Here are some things I learned and a synopsis of comments I received about Mr. Thomas. First is that the North East Division of the Houston Police Department has created what was described to me as “a wall of honor” recognizing Mr. Thomas. I haven’t seen it, but I intend to visit that station soon to have a look.
The comment most often received about the article was similar to this one. “He is MR. THOMAS and earned that respect from all who know him.” Others commented about his great mentoring and friendship. One friend reported that Mr. Thomas is still active and recently attended a promotion ceremony where he pinned the lieutenant’s badge on a friend, Dennis Carter, whose photo with Mr. Thomas was in my article. Another officer wrote that he asked to buy Mr. Thomas’ service revolver, for the historical significance of owning the weapon of a man who served for over 60 years. Mr. Thomas declined.
It was the most gratifying experience I have had writing this blog.
Now to the cop writers. Most of us are familiar with Joseph Wambaugh’s books, movies, and television series. It could be argued that his work opened the floodgates for books by other cops. I can’t begin to list even the books that have been written by Texas cops, much less a national list, but I have included a website below where you can learn about some of them. Just in Texas, the site lists nine cop authors each from Dallas and Houston, five from Fort Worth, four from San Antonio, and one from Austin. There are many more, including from sheriffs’ departments, constable offices and state police.
Not all are well written and, as with many independent authors, some failed to use good editing techniques before publishing their work. But I think you will be surprised by the overall quality of much of the work. The books include some great fiction, a smattering of technical police procedure books, and a few tomes documenting the history of law enforcement or the old west.
WWW.Police-Writers.comis a website dedicated to cop authors. You may be required to register in order to access the information, but it is well worth the effort. I have never received a spam or advertising email from the site. I understand that police officers created and run the site.
The following is an excerpt taken from the home page of Police-Writers.com.
“1199 Police Officers
As of February 15, 2014, this site lists 1199 state and local law enforcement officials from 498 state and local law enforcement agencies who have written 2625 police books.”
Check it out if you like cop books.