The Night Police
Beyond the Line of Duty
By Chris Berg and Paul James Smith
As the direct child of a former police officer, this book was almost like a small flashback to my childhood. While it wasn’t a special fraternity of cops that was over at my childhood home practically every other weekend, I did grow up with a small group of five to seven cops that were on my Dad’s crew around A LOT. Dad was Crew Chief and so Crew Parties, lol, were at our house. So, I have a unique perspective in reading this book. I’m going to try to share that with you. This book was written by two former police officers, so, if you will, try to imagine the following:
You have a group of cops, small group, say…five to ten guys, max. They are all very close. The work together side by side every day and have for years. When cops get close like this, they have certain ways they interact with each other OUTSIDE of the precinct.
One of these ways is something that has long been referred to as “Choir Practice”. Choir Practice is the cop slang for when the guys from the squad get together and go out drinking after shift. Inevitably, during such meetings and certainly over an ice-cold beer or two, they unload the stresses of the day on each other, tell stories about previous calls or stops, tell cop jokes and try to unwind from the stress of the job before they go home to their families.
So, picture these guys, some newer to the force, some veterans of the department, all getting together to drink and tell their kind of war stories.
That’s basically what this book is. Now, I found it a great read because, like I said, it took me back to my childhood. Some stories you only hear once. Some, like the really good ones, you get told to you over and over again. Cops have a certain sense of humor but they also have their own language at times, and that shows in this book.
Most of what I read came off as very realistic, although I do feel like, because of things I know from being raised around cops, that some things may have been dramatized for effect. Which isn’t really abnormal, now is it?
I liked the stories because they do sound like legitimate cop stories, similar to the things I grew up hearing. The portrayal of the police in this book is fairly accurate to what I grew up with. While not all of what is in this book are things the cops I knew did, they did tell stories that strike similar chords.
I really enjoyed reading this book. I thought it was fun and a trip back to my childhood. I recognize that the language in this book hasn’t been soften for the average civilian. That doesn’t matter to me or bother me. I heard all kinds of things growing up. But I thought the style and presentation of the stories had an excellent transition instead of just listing the stories out one by one, with no connective tissue to help you get to know the storytellers themselves. This would have been a book that I think my father would have really liked and I plan on getting a copy for his best friend and old partner on the job, because I still talk to those cops I grew up with. It’s a family. Just like the military. You never lose those bonds.