Tag Archives: cops

It’s Here – The Better of the Bad

It’s finally here. The fourth Trevor Galloway novel is out into the world and since there is absolutely NOTHING else going on right now, like a global pandemic or an election, this announcement will be at the top of your news feed! If you didn’t get the announcement about the release in my newsletter… it’s because I don’t have a newsletter. If you didn’t get an invitation to the book launch, it’s because I didn’t have one (see the sarcastic statement above regarding the aforementioned pandemic). Nevertheless, the book is here! How did it come about? Funny you should ask.

As I’ve stated before, Trevor Galloway is the favorite of my protagonists so I’ve enjoyed watching him evolve over four novels. The mere fact I’ve now written seven novels and multiple shorter works in total is mind-blowing to me given the fact I’d never had any intention on becoming a writer. Life is odd. Anyway, here is what Galloway is facing this time:

It’s 9:10 PM in the Chatham County Communications Center. The dispatchers stare at each other, afraid to move, afraid to breathe. One minute to go. Will tonight be the night? The clock on the wall changes. 9:11. A phone rings. The screens indicate the 9-1-1 call is coming from a blocked number. The dispatchers hope and pray it’s a coincidental call for service. Perhaps a car break-in or a bar fight. With all eyes on her, one dispatcher presses a button, puts the call on speaker for everyone to hear.

“Chatham 9-1-1. What’s your emergency?”

The distorted voice comes across the speaker. He gives the address. There will be a body at that location. That’s for certain. The killer dares the police to catch him and then, like before…he’s gone.

Former Pittsburgh narcotics detective Trevor Galloway and new P.I. Bethany Nolan are enlisted to look into the case of the 9-1-1 Killer and the investigation takes an unexpected turn when Galloway suggests the murderer may be a first responder. Galloway is pushed to the limit as he wonders if his hallucinations are returning and if members of a drug gang that want him dead have tracked him to Savannah, Georgia.

Galloway soon discovers he doesn’t trust the police. He doesn’t trust his client. He doesn’t even trust himself.

This book was a lot of fun to write and, as usual, I learned a lot while conducting research. My hope is you will enjoy it as well. If you do, please be sure to leave a review on Amazon or Goodreads and tell your friends. If you don’t have any friends, tell random people – it’s possible they have friends. Thanks to all of you! Except one of you. You know who you are.

J.J. Hensley is the author of RESOLVE, a Thriller Award finalist, Measure Twice, Chalk’s Outline, Bolt Action Remedy, Record Scratch, Forgiveness Dies, The Better of the Bad, and other works. Hensley is a former police officer and former Special Agent with the U.S. Secret Service.

https://hensleybooks.wordpress.com
http://www.hensley-books.com
https://www.facebook.com/hensleybooks
https://www.goodreads.com/JJHensley
Twitter @JJHensleyauthor

Order Now!

It’s 9:10 PM in the Chatham County Communications Center. The dispatchers stare at each other, afraid to move, afraid to breathe. One minute to go. Will tonight be the night? The clock on the wall changes. 9:11. A phone rings. The screens indicate the 9-1-1 call is coming from a blocked number. The dispatchers hope and pray it’s a coincidental call for service. Perhaps a car break-in or a bar fight. With all eyes on her, one dispatcher presses a button, puts the call on speaker for everyone to hear.

“Chatham 9-1-1. What’s your emergency?”

The distorted voice comes across the speaker. He gives the address. There will be a body at that location. That’s for certain. The killer dares the police to catch him and then, like before…he’s gone.

Former Pittsburgh narcotics detective Trevor Galloway and new P.I. Bethany Nolan are enlisted to look into the case of the 9-1-1 Killer and the investigation takes an unexpected turn when Galloway suggests the murderer may be a first responder. Galloway is pushed to the limit as he wonders if his hallucinations are returning and if members of a drug gang that want him dead have tracked him to Savannah, Georgia.

Galloway soon discovers he doesn’t trust the police. He doesn’t trust his client. He doesn’t even trust himself.

Praise for THE BETTER OF THE BAD:

“J.J. Hensley has pulled off an incredible feat: The Better of the Bad is a real rush with a gripping mystery at its heart. The Trevor Galloway series gets bigger, badder, and more energetic with every book.” —Nick Kolakowski, author of Boise Longpig Hunting Club and Maxine Unleashes Doomsday

Amazon

Upon being released after three years of incarceration in a psychiatric facility, former narcotics detective and unlicensed PI Trevor Galloway has no idea how to begin picking up the pieces of his shattered life. Having lost the woman he loved and exacting revenge upon those responsible, he is irreparably broken, heavily medicated, and unemployable.

When former Secret Service agent Nick Van Metre knocks on Trevor Galloway’s door, the last thing he expected was a job offer. However when the head of Metal Security hands Galloway a stack of photos and asks for his assistance with investigating a series of threats against a controversial presidential candidate, the former detective is stunned.

Galloway initially takes the case, but eventually has to question his own sanity after he reports an encounter with intruders who seem to have left no trace in his home. When Nick Van Metre turns up dead and an attack is carried out against Dennis Hackney, the former detective with a history of extreme violence becomes the focal point of multiple investigations.

Galloway pulls clues from photos and searches for answers while dodging bullets in Pittsburgh and Savannah.

Get set for a mystery told at a breakneck pace, with each of the chapters being linked to photograph in roll of film.

Look for the hints. Watch for the signs. Trevor Galloway doesn’t trust himself. Can you trust him?

The answers won’t be revealed until the final photo is flipped.

Praise for FORGIVENESS DIES: 

“Is someone setting Trevor Galloway up, or is his own mind deceiving him? Forgiveness Dies puts a uniquely fascinating protagonist–a detective who can’t trust his own perceptions–into a complex political thriller, and the result is propulsive. Hensley starts with a punch, and accelerates from there.” –Joseph Finder, New York Times bestselling author of Judgment and The Switch

“Inventive storytelling meets propulsive action in this wild thrill ride from J.J. Hensley, who brings real-life experiences to the page and delivers an authentic tale of double-crosses and dirty dealings. Don’t worry if you haven’t stepped into Trevor Galloway’s shadowy world yet…start right here, and you’ll soon want to read them all!” –Daniel Palmer, USA Today bestselling author of Stolen and Saving Meghan

“A snapshot of humanity in perfect focus. Edgy, furiously paced, raw. From the whip-smart dialogue to the deeply flawed characters, Hensley has a voice that will stay with you long after the final exposure.” –K.J. Howe, author of The Freedom Broker and Skyjack

Forgiveness Dies is a non-stop, gut churning thriller that you’ll read in one sitting. Hensley has conceived a brilliant but almost fatally flawed protagonist in Trevor Galloway, a man so tormented by his past that in the battle for truth and justice he’s forced to fight enemies that are dangerously real, and some that only real to him. J.J. Hensley is one of the best thriller writers out there, and he sits at the top of my must-read list.” –Mark Pryor, author of the Hugo Marston series

“With Trevor Galloway, the tortured, likable protagonist of J.J. Hensley’s Forgiveness Dies, Hensley has created a character destined to remain with the reader long after the last page is turned. Not only that, but readers will find themselves inextricably pulled into a tight plot that bears a brutally close, and necessary, resemblance to today’s America. Read this book, and you’ll want to read everything else Hensley has written.” –E.A. Aymar, author of The Unrepentant

Amazon

“There are two types of men you must fear in this world: Men who have everything to lose—and men like me.”

It’s a case Trevor Galloway doesn’t want. It’s certainly a case he doesn’t need. The client—the sister of a murdered musician—seems a bit off. She expects Galloway to not only solve her brother’s homicide, but recover a vinyl record she believes could ruin his reputation. Galloway knows he should walk away. He should simply reach over the desk, give back the envelope of cash that he admittedly needs, and walk away. However, when the client closes the meeting by putting a gun under her chin and pulling the trigger, his sense of obligation drags him down a path he may not be ready to travel.

A story divided into twelve songs from Jimmy Spartan’s final album.

Praise for RECORD SCRATCH:

Record Scratch shocks you out of your ordinary groove. Sometimes witty, other times haunting, but when the needle jumps the track, the body count screams.” —Marc E. Fitch, author of Paradise Burns and Dirty Water

“In Record Scratch, Hensley, a former secret service agent, gifts us with a bounty of goods: a solid mystery, a damaged but relatable main character—one you root for, and swift plotting that weaves a compelling, compulsive tale of music and death and the demons carried by those in law enforcement. Bring me more Trevor!” —Shannon Kirk, international bestselling author of Method 15/33

“J.J. Hensley’s Record Scratch is a tersely written and tightly plotted gem, featuring one of the most unique protagonists around, Trevor Galloway, a man who has a way of getting himself into and out of trouble at an alarming rate. The book is action-packed with a dash of mordant wit, and I can’t wait to read more in this intense, engaging series.” —David Bell, USA Today bestselling author of Somebody’s Daughter

“J.J. Hensley’s tale of a stoic PI investigating the murder of a has-been rock star is equal parts classic whodunnit and gritty noir, peppered with high-octane action scenes that will leave you breathless. Record Scratch is like a throat punch: powerful, shocking, and unapologetic, but the surprising poignant ending will stay with you a long after you’ve finished the book. This is a thriller that crackles from the first page to the last.” —Jennifer Hillier, author of Jar of Hearts

Buy it on Amazon!

Former Pittsburgh narcotics detective Trevor Galloway has been hired to look into the year-old homicide of a prominent businessman who was gunned down on his estate in Central Pennsylvania. When Galloway arrives, he determines the murder could have only been committed by someone extremely skilled in two areas: Skiing and shooting. He believes the assailant should not be too difficult to identify given the great amount of skill and athleticism needed to pull off the attack. When he discovers the victim’s property is next door to a biathlon training camp, the situation becomes significantly more complicated.

Galloway makes plenty of enemies as he sifts through stories about lucrative land deals, possible drug connections, and uncovers evidence suggesting the homicide may have been elaborate suicide. As he attempts to navigate through an unfamiliar rural landscape, he does his best not to succumb to an old drug addiction, or become confused by one of his occasional hallucinations. Oh, and a Pittsburgh drug gang enforcer known as The Lithuanian—if he’s even real—is tracking Galloway and wants to take his eyes. Galloway would rather keep those.

Official Book Announcement and Cover Reveal – The Better of the Bad

In Bolt Action Remedy, the typically quiet streets of Washaway Township, Pennsylvania become the epicenter of a mystery involving elite athletes and old grudges. For Galloway, the problems keep piling up and somebody out there believes problems should be dealt with by employing the most permanent of remedies.

image1

Cyprus Keller wants a future.
Jackson Channing has a past.
Robert Chalk has a rifle and a mission.  Kill Cyprus Keller and anyone who gets in his way.

cropped-measure-twice-750-x-1200-jpeg.jpg

An addict is killing Pittsburgh city officials, but Homicide Detective Jackson Channing has his own addiction.

resolve-cover art CL (1)

In the Pittsburgh Marathon, more than 18,000 people will participate. 4,500 people will attempt to cover the full 26.2 miles. Over 200 of the participants will quit, realizing it just wasn’t their day. More than 100 will get injured and require medical treatment. One man is going to be murdered.  When Dr. Cyprus Keller lines up to start the race, he knows a man is going to die for one simple reason. He’s going to kill him.

Finalist – 2014 International Thriller Writers Awards – Best First NovelNamed one of the BEST BOOKS of 2013 by Suspense Magazine!Top Ten Books of the Year – Authors on the Air

Advertisement

Guest on Inside Thrill Radio

I was recently a guest on Inside Thrill Radio. I was one of three guests on the show, all of whom had background in law enforcement and utilized the experience to write crime fiction. It was a great discussion. Here is the link: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/suspensemagazine/2017/10/26/inside-thrill-radio-with-special-guests-micki-browning-jj-hensley-and-isabell

J.J. Hensley is the author of RESOLVE, a Thriller Award finalist which is set against the backdrop of the Pittsburgh Marathon, Measure Twice, Chalk’s Outline, and other works. Hensley is a former police officer and former Special Agent with the U.S. Secret Service.

Former Pittsburgh narcotics detective Trevor Galloway has been hired to look into the year-old homicide of a prominent businessman who was gunned down on his estate in Central Pennsylvania. When Galloway arrives, he determines the murder could have only been committed by someone extremely skilled in two areas: Skiing and shooting. He believes the assailant should not be too difficult to identify given the great amount of skill and athleticism needed to pull off the attack. When he discovers the victim’s property is next door to a biathlon training camp, the situation becomes significantly more complicated.

Galloway makes plenty of enemies as he sifts through stories about lucrative land deals, possible drug connections, and uncovers evidence suggesting the homicide may have been elaborate suicide. As he attempts to navigate through an unfamiliar rural landscape, he does his best not to succumb to an old drug addiction, or become confused by one of his occasional hallucinations. Oh, and a Pittsburgh drug gang enforcer known as The Lithuanian—if he’s even real—is tracking Galloway and wants to take his eyes. Galloway would rather keep those.

In Bolt Action Remedy, the typically quiet streets of Washaway Township, Pennsylvania become the epicenter of a mystery involving elite athletes and old grudges. For Galloway, the problems keep piling up and somebody out there believes problems should be dealt with by employing the most permanent of remedies.

AVAILABLE NOW!

image1Cyprus Keller wants a future.
Jackson Channing has a past.
Robert Chalk has a rifle and a mission.  Kill Cyprus Keller and anyone who gets in his way.

 

An addict is killing Pittsburgh city officials, but Homicide Detective Jackson Channing has his own addiction.

cropped-measure-twice-750-x-1200-jpeg.jpg

Also:

In the Pittsburgh Marathon, more than 18,000 people will participate. 4,500 people will attempt to cover the full 26.2 miles. Over 200 of the participants will quit, realizing it just wasn’t their day. More than 100 will get injured and require medical treatment. One man is going to be murdered.  When Dr. Cyprus Keller lines up to start the race, he knows a man is going to die for one simple reason. He’s going to kill him.

resolve-cover art CL (1)

Finalist – 2014 International Thriller Writers Awards – Best First Novel
Named one of the BEST BOOKS of 2013 by Suspense Magazine!
Top Ten Books of the Year – Authors on the Air

 And look for my short story FOUR DAYS FOREVER in the LEGACY anthology

Police Arguments Against Officers Carrying Narcan to Treat Overdoses are Weak

Naloxone, or Narcan, can save the life of a person who is overdosing on an opioid such as heroin.  Lately, there has been controversy as some police departments have begun training officers how to administer Narcan to individuals should the situation become necessary.  Some believe this measure enables addicts.  Some, including a great many in law enforcement, believe administering a drug should be an exclusive function of a trained medical professional such as an Emergency Medical Technician.  I’ve been shocked at emotion behind some of these arguments, some of which convey zero ambivalence.  As a former law enforcement officer, I realize I can be predisposed to agree with those who carry the badge and my opinions can be viewed as less than objective.  In this post, I want to be completely clear that I believe any police officer that objects to carrying Narcan is dead wrong.

DSC03440-B2

Example:  An officer responds to a call for a subject who went into cardiac arrest at the dinner table.  The officer runs into the house and finds the male subject non-responsive.  The wife is screaming, the kids are crying, tensions are high.  The officer immediately administers CPR or uses an Automated External Defibrillator (AED).  The officer does not ask the wife if the subject recently snorted cocaine.  The officer does not stop to inquire if the subject took meth.  An individual is in distress and the first responder happened to be a police officer, not an EMT.  Period.

Now, I can understand how the officer can feel differently when a drug must be administered intravenously, which is sometimes the case with Narcan (there is also a nasal version).  But, I’ve seen many officers argue through comments on social media pages that the administering of Narcan is “enabling” or is “the job of an EMT”.  With all due respect, those arguments are bogus.

As a police officer, it was not my job to evaluate the lifestyle choices one made that led him or her to be in distress.  Much like when I was a Secret Service agent, it was not my job to judge the political stances of those I had sworn to protect.  In fact, as the Secret Service protects visiting heads of state, I’m certain I protected dictators from third-world nations who were probably guilty of mass killings.  It’s not a pleasant reality, but it’s the job and sometimes the job means you reserve judgement when you are on duty.

Can you imagine police officers responding to a scene and refusing to perform CPR on an individual because she ate cheeseburgers three times a day and let herself become a prime target for a heart attack?  Or an officer putting the AED back in the bag because a the person requiring assistance may have had too many drinks and fell down the stairs in his house?  Where is the line drawn?  Can an officer be slow to call for an ambulance if a drunk driver crashes into a tree?  Is an incident involving marijuana okay, but cocaine is not?  Is a meth addict worth saving, but not a heroin addict?  What about the person who suffered from chronic pain and accidentally got hooked on pills?  These are not choices for any first responder, including a police officer, to make.  The choice was already made when the oath to protect was taken.  You save lives with the tools available.  You save lives and put your judgment aside.

The bottom line is you save lives.  That’s the job.

J.J. Hensley is the author of RESOLVE, which is set against the backdrop of the Pittsburgh Marathon, Measure Twice, Chalk’s Outline, and other works. Hensley is a former police officer and former Special Agent with the U.S. Secret Service.

image1Cyprus Keller wants a future.
Jackson Channing has a past.
Robert Chalk has a rifle and a mission.  Kill Cyprus Keller and anyone who gets in his way.

 

An addict is killing Pittsburgh city officials, but Homicide Detective Jackson Channing has his own addiction.

cropped-measure-twice-750-x-1200-jpeg.jpg

Also:

In the Pittsburgh Marathon, more than 18,000 people will participate. 4,500 people will attempt to cover the full 26.2 miles. Over 200 of the participants will quit, realizing it just wasn’t their day. More than 100 will get injured and require medical treatment. One man is going to be murdered.  When Dr. Cyprus Keller lines up to start the race, he knows a man is going to die for one simple reason. He’s going to kill him.

resolve-cover art CL (1)

Finalist – 2014 International Thriller Writers Awards – Best First Novel
Named one of the BEST BOOKS of 2013 by Suspense Magazine!
Top Ten Books of the Year – Authors on the Air

 And look for my short story FOUR DAYS FOREVER in the LEGACY anthology

 

 

Zootopia: The Most Realistic Cop Movie Ever

Shootouts:  None
Unlocked doors kicked in:  None
Unrealistic computer hacking:  None
Questionable uses of discretion:  Some – but, what did you expect?  We’re talking about animals here.

20140725_130317

Disney’s Zootopia is the story of Officer Judy Hopps who attempts to unravel a series of disappearances in the metropolis of Zootopia.  In the past, I’ve been highly critical of television police dramas and unrealistic Hollywood productions that do a horrible job of portraying my former profession. Zootopia does a fantastic job of avoiding thed usual pitfalls of the cop drama, while lending realism to policing in movies (you know… other than the fact the characters are cartoon animals).  So, how realistic is this film?  Extremely.

Exhibit 1:  Officer Hopps, the first bunny on the force, uses a criminal informant (a fox named Nick Wilde) who has access to animals and information that cops don’t.  Hopps coerced Wilde into helping her by holding damaging information over his head.  This is the way it works with C.I.’s.  You have to get leverage and then use it wisely.

Exhibit 2:  Hopps has limited access to information.  Her own department has basically cut her out of the loop and limited her ability to use department resources.  Unlike NCIS in which Tim McGee or Abby Sciuto simply hack into restricted databases and violate countless state and federal laws in order to obtain information, Hopps has to get creative in order to run a license plate.  Through Nick Wilde, Hopps develops a contact named Flash at the DMV.  Contacts like this are invaluable in real world law enforcement, although the most helpful ones aren’t incredibly slow sloths that work at the DMV.  Rather, they are incredibly slow humans who work at the DMV.

Exhibit 3:  Hopps mostly stays within the law and even cites the requirement to have probable cause to search property.  In fact, Hopps is frequently careful not to violate rights, search without warrants, and is constantly respectful to the public.  Sure, she colors outside the lines when pushed, but who am I to judge?  I never had a water buffalo as a police chief.

Exhibit 4:  Officer Hopps gets caught up in city and departmental politics.  As in real life, law enforcement gets caught in between society’s problems and those who want to capitalize off of fear.  While a vast majority of the officers in the Zootopia Police Department (ZPD) are honest and hardworking, the department is put in the impossible position of bringing order to society while those with political ambitions stoke the fires of anger and discrimination.  In fact, I’d say the movie Zootopia is a better political commentary than anything I’ve seen this election year.  Contrary to recent political events, the film made my family laugh instead of cry which was a bonus.

So, forget Dirty Harry, Bad Boys, and Lethal Weapon.  Zootopia is policing at it’s best.  It has intrigue, suspense, politics, criminal informants, and the most ingenious and complex popsicle con ever invented.  Seriously, it’s a brilliant operation.  Go see this film and see if you don’t want to put in your application for the ZPD.  I know I do.

Did you see the movie?  Feel free to comment below.

J.J. Hensley is the author of RESOLVE, which is set against the backdrop of the Pittsburgh Marathon, Measure Twice, Chalk’s Outline, and other works. Hensley is a former police officer and former Special Agent with the U.S. Secret Service.

image1Cyprus Keller wants a future.
Jackson Channing has a past.
Robert Chalk has a rifle and a mission.  Kill Cyprus Keller and anyone who gets in his way.

2014

An addict is killing Pittsburgh city officials, but Homicide Detective Jackson Channing has his own addiction.

cropped-measure-twice-750-x-1200-jpeg.jpg

Also:

In the Pittsburgh Marathon, more than 18,000 people will participate. 4,500 people will attempt to cover the full 26.2 miles. Over 200 of the participants will quit, realizing it just wasn’t their day. More than 100 will get injured and require medical treatment. One man is going to be murdered.  When Dr. Cyprus Keller lines up to start the race, he knows a man is going to die for one simple reason. He’s going to kill him.

resolve-cover art CL (1)

Finalist – 2014 International Thriller Writers Awards – Best First Novel
Named one of the BEST BOOKS of 2013 by Suspense Magazine!
Top Ten Books of the Year – Authors on the Air

 And look for my short story FOUR DAYS FOREVER in the LEGACY anthology

 

 

Is There Really a “War” Against Law Enforcement?

Throughout the past couple of years, the public perception of law enforcement has become increasingly negative due to several high-profile incidents in which officers or agents either exceeded their authority, or were believed to have done so.  At times, some media outlets have fanned the flames and rushed to judgment and shaped the “facts” to fit a narrative that would help to create outrage and therefore generate ratings.  Some law enforcement officers are not without blame as we have seen most recently in Chicago where not only did an officer improperly apply force, but it appears multiple members of the police department and city government conspired to conceal a homicide.  Although I have been extremely critical of some police actions, I am still sometimes accused of being a police apologist whenever I have emphasized the need for objectivity and calm in the face of controversial acts that understandably generate strong emotions.  Some in law enforcement believe that the negative shift in public perception is part of a “war” against law enforcement that is being played out on our televisions and through social media.  I have a different take.

“War” = Ratings = Attention

The matchup between these two heavyweight boxers is going to be an absolute WAR!

There is a WAR on Christmas!

The WAR on drugs, the WAR on poverty, the WAR on Christian values, etc.., etc., etc.

Philosopher and Theologian James Childress describes the use of the word “war” as a dilemma:  “In debating social policy through the language of war, we often forget the moral reality of war.”

I tend to agree with Childress and would add that not only does the using the language of war while discussing social issues cause us to forget the harsh realities of war, but it polarizes debates and changes the mode of communication from meaningful conversations to relentless battles.  Conversations include ideas whereas battles ultimately result in casualties on both sides.

So why all this talk about war?  It’s simple.  Throughout history, if you want to mobilize the masses then you claim you are at war against a formidable enemy – be it physical or ideological.  Additionally, if you want to rally your followers and generate increased support then you need to control the media.  Major media outlets are controlled by massive corporations and therefore we constantly hear about the WAR against Christmas or the WAR against illegal immigration, but not about the WAR against corporate tax loopholes.  That war does not exist because the media has not declared that social problem to be worthy of inflammatory terminology.

The Treatment of Law Enforcement Officials is Getting Worse

This is absolutely true.  As our society has become more polarized in our beliefs and respect for governmental authority has decreased, the police have become targets of verbal and physical assaults.  As a former law enforcement officer, I admit there are times I have to make sure I don’t get an “us versus them” mentality when discussing the police and those who are heavily critical regardless of the facts.  The best way for me to do this is to keep things in a historical perspective.

In the United States, there is a long history of police forces being used as a tool for oppression.  This is a sad fact that is evidenced by how some organizations were utilized throughout the civil rights movement.  Additionally, police are the most visible symbol of governmental authority which is fine until people become disenchanted with the government and believe the government is responsible for society’s failures.  Therefore, in a polarized society where 24/7 media outlets are quick to assign blame and use terms such as WAR, people lash out at the most visible and accessible symbol of governmental authority.  The hard truth is that most people do not know the name of their Senator, but they sure know what the local police cruiser looks like.

No –  There is No War on the Police

I do not believe there is a WAR on the police any more than I believe there is a WAR against Christmas.  Law enforcement as a profession is going through a difficult time and is suffering from wounds that are sometimes self-inflicted, but often caused by misconceptions, misinformation, and the hunger for ratings.  For decades, departments have tried to remind us that 99 percent of police officer are doing a great job.  However, that claim has become a cliché that is often falling on deaf ears.  Social media outlets are being flooded with videos of law enforcement officers doing the wrong thing, but few remember that it is rare for anyone to find it worth while to post videos of the police doing their jobs with honor.

In response to these difficult times, many law enforcement organizations (such as those where I live in the area of Pittsburgh, PA) are changing their ways, becoming more transparent, and joining forces with the community to improve both operations and perceptions.  These changes result in conversations, rather than battles.  The removal of violent terminology opens the door to reason and accountability and discourages knee jerk reactions.  The challenges police are facing on our streets are real and can be horribly violent.  To ignore this would be naïve and irresponsible.  However, we must be careful not to buy into the WAR mentality that is being pushed on us at every turn.

When a society believes it is at war with its protectors, it’s time for everyone involved to take a big step back from the frontlines.

Maybe it's time to put the pin back in this thing

Maybe it’s time to put the pin back in this thing

If you have any thoughts on the matter, feel free to leave a comment below.

 

 

J.J. Hensley is the author of RESOLVE, which is set against the backdrop of the Pittsburgh Marathon, Measure Twice, and other works. Hensley is a former police officer and former Special Agent with the U.S. Secret Service.

https://hensleybooks.wordpress.com
http://www.hensley-books.com
https://www.facebook.com/hensleybooks
https://www.goodreads.com/JJHensley
Twitter @JJHensleyauthor

AVAILABLE NOW!

An addict is killing Pittsburgh city officials, but Homicide Detective Jackson Channing has his own addiction.

cropped-measure-twice-750-x-1200-jpeg.jpg

Also:

In the Pittsburgh Marathon, more than 18,000 people will participate. 4,500 people will attempt to cover the full 26.2 miles. Over 200 of the participants will quit, realizing it just wasn’t their day. More than 100 will get injured and require medical treatment. One man is going to be murdered.  When Dr. Cyprus Keller lines up to start the race, he knows a man is going to die for one simple reason. He’s going to kill him.

Resolve

Finalist – 2014 International Thriller Writers Awards – Best First Novel
Named one of the BEST BOOKS of 2013 by Suspense Magazine!
Top Ten Books of the Year – Authors on the Air

 And look for my short story FOUR DAYS FOREVER in the LEGACY anthology

Legacy cover

February 2016

image1Cyprus Keller wants a future.
Jackson Channing has a past.
Robert Chalk has a rifle and a mission.  Kill Cyprus Keller and anyone who gets in his way.

10 Movie Cops Who Could Have Been Good Runners

Two of my favorite topics are law enforcement and distance running.  So, this week let’s combine the two.  I’m going to list 10 movie cops and explain why I think they would have made good runners, and at what distance.  To conduct this study, I used a complicated algorithm that involved coffee, pistachios, and more coffee.  Here is the list in no particular order:

#10.  Vincent Hanna (Al Pacino in Heat)

Ultramarathon:  Not only was the movie itself incredibly long, but Hanna persevered in spite of taking on a competent gang of criminals and tacking relationship issues.  The final scene alone demonstrates his ability to give a race that final kick, even when handling a shotgun.  If only he could have inspired Val Kilmer to stay in shape.

scale

#9.  Clarice Starling (Jody Foster in Silence of the Lambs)

Nighttime 5Ks:  No night vision goggles needed here.  She simply blows away the competition.

#8.  John McClane (Bruce Willis in Die Hard films)

Tough Mudder & Spartan Race:  Broken glass?  No problem.  Fire?  Please.  Walls to climb?  Air vents to crawl through?  Ledges to leap from?  Whatever.  McClane fights through injuries like few others and still manages to toss around some witty one-liners.  The fact that Die Hard 2 was totally ridiculous and those planes could have landed at any number of D.C. / Baltimore / Richmond airports, is irrelevant.

airplane

#7.  Ed Exley (Guy Pearce in L.A. Confidential)

10K:  This is one of my all-time favorite movie cops.  Constantly underrated and underestimated, he chugs along and lulls his competition to sleep until the final sprint.  Sure he’s overly-concerned with trophies and medals, but when push comes to shove… he’ll shoot you.

#6.  Marge Gunderson (Frances McDormand in Fargo)

Frigid 5Ks & Turkey Trots:  Not snow, nor sleet, nor wood chippers can keep this Chief of Police from going the full distance.  An inspiration to pregnant runners everywhere, Minnesota’s Gunderson puts the “aye” in race.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

#5.  Jack Traven (Keanu Reeves in Speed)

The Mile:  One of the most obvious choices due to the movie title.  He was probably a good sprinter in his younger day, but drifted to the mile.  Fun fact:  He never takes public transportation or a shuttle to any event.  Never.

#4.  Donnie Brasco (Johnny Depp in… well, Donnie Brasco)

Half-Marathon and Marathon Relays:  Because he’s the ultimate team player.  Or is he?

#3.  William Somerset (Morgan Freeman in Seven)

Any race he wants:  The man is a phenomenon because he could narrate his own distance race and make it sound extraordinary even if he was running in dead last place while eating a donut.

#2.  Ed Tom Bell (Tommy Lee Jones in No Country for Old Men)

Half-Marathon:  He’d do the full, but he’s retiring soon.  He’s a formidable competitor in the Texas heat despite his constant disappointment with the world.  You’d be well-advised to avoid trying to strike up a conversation with him during an event.

#1.  Eliot Ness (Kevin Costner in The Untouchables)

Marathon:  This character’s lines at the end of the movie tell the story.  In court with Capone he yells, “Never stop.  Never stop fighting ‘till the fight is done.  Then at the very end of the movie he answers a reporter’s question by saying, “I think I’ll have a drink.”

Name one marathoner who hasn’t been heard saying those phrases.

Who would you add to this list?  Comment below!

J.J. Hensley is the author of RESOLVE, which is set against the backdrop of the Pittsburgh Marathon, Measure Twice, and other works. Hensley is a former police officer and former Special Agent with the U.S. Secret Service.

https://hensleybooks.wordpress.com
http://www.hensley-books.com
https://www.facebook.com/hensleybooks
https://www.goodreads.com/JJHensley
Twitter @JJHensleyauthor

AVAILABLE NOW!

An addict is killing Pittsburgh city officials, but Homicide Detective Jackson Channing has his own addiction.

cropped-measure-twice-750-x-1200-jpeg.jpg

Also:

In the Pittsburgh Marathon, more than 18,000 people will participate. 4,500 people will attempt to cover the full 26.2 miles. Over 200 of the participants will quit, realizing it just wasn’t their day. More than 100 will get injured and require medical treatment. One man is going to be murdered.  When Dr. Cyprus Keller lines up to start the race, he knows a man is going to die for one simple reason. He’s going to kill him.

Resolve

Finalist – 2014 International Thriller Writers Awards – Best First Novel
Named one of the BEST BOOKS of 2013 by Suspense Magazine!
Top Ten Books of the Year – Authors on the Air

 

 And look for my short story FOUR DAYS FOREVER in the LEGACY anthology

Legacy cover

Police and the Use of Force

Throughout the past few months, the topics of policing, racial relations, and rules regarding law enforcement use of force have taken center stage in what have often been emotional and contentious debates.  On many occasions, the conversation has been hijacked by opportunists looking to self-promote and media personalities seeking ratings.  I won’t attempt to dive deeply into the issues as they are complex and much too important to attempt to dissect in a simple blog post.  In this piece, I am not making any judgments regarding the most recent occurrences that have been played out in the press.  However, I would like to mention a few things to keep in mind when entering into conversations regarding the recent incidents in Missouri, New York, and Cleveland or even if addressing the issues in a broader sense.  Here are some things I hope everyone will try to remember:

 

  1. When police use force, we can’t assume race or economic is a factor

This has been an unfortunate leap many have taken, partially because some media outlets have linked the two together.  The fact of the matter is that stories dealing with race relations get more attention than some that do not.  Was race a factor in Ferguson, New York, or Cleveland?  I don’t know, but I’m not going to assume so.  As a law enforcement officer, I was involved in several physical altercations and I can honestly say the last thing on my mind was the other person’s skin color.  Call me selfish, but I was much more concerned about doing my job well which, in my mind anyway, included staying alive.

Are there racist cops?  Absolutely.  The same way there are racist computer programmers, airline pilots, and politicians.  Should racism be tolerated?  Of course not.  But, I’m not going to assume race is a factor even if racial tensions exist in particular town or neighborhood.  Police officers are human beings and every officer and incident needs to be evaluated objectively.

  1. Police use of force rules are widely misunderstood

Officers and agents are trained to abide by a use of force model, or continuum, that calls for the officer to escalate force only if necessary.  In most models, an officer’s mere presence is the first step followed by verbal direction, hand control techniques, non-lethal means (pepper spray, Taser, blunt impacts), and lethal force.  An officer or agent can leap over one or more steps if the situation calls for it.  If the officer believes that there is an imminent threat to life (the officer’s or another’s), lethal force may be used.

There are many, many misconceptions about the use of force, but allow me to focus on one.  The use of a firearm is always lethal force.  One of my pet peeves is the Hollywood depictions of an officer shooting an aggressor in the leg or arm as a means to stop him.  This is pure fiction.  Even if you ignore the fact the femoral artery runs through the leg and the brachial artery runs through the arm, bullets don’t often follow a straight path once they enter the body.  Bullets bounce around, they mushroom, and they leave fragments that cause severe damage.  The argument that an officer should have shot a person in a non-lethal way is invalid.  Can you imagine the following interaction between a lawyer and an officer involved in a shooting?

Lawyer:  “Officer, did you intend to kill Mr. Smith.”

Officer:  “No, I shot him in the leg.”

Lawyer:  “So lethal force was not necessary?”

Officer:  “No, that’s why I shot him in the leg.”

Lawyer:  “You shot a bullet into Mr. Smith and didn’t think that it might kill him?”

Officer:  “Right.”

It seems ridiculous because it is just that.  The officer would probably be prosecuted in criminal court and certainly be sued.  Just as ridiculous is the argument that an officer should have used non-lethal means if being confronted aggressively with a knife or other dangerous weapon.  Pepper spray, Tasers, and batons have a very limited range and are sometimes ineffective.  I have personally seen demonstrations where an attacker with a knife can reach an officer standing over 20 feet away before the officer can react appropriately.  These things happen in the blink of an eye and the speed and chaotic nature of assaults should be considered.

One last consideration regarding use of force – EVERY encounter an officer has involves a weapon because the officer is carrying one.  Every time an officer goes to the ground and has to wrestle a suspect, the suspect’s hand is only inches away from a gun.  All it takes is for an officer to lose consciousness or to be at a severe tactical or physical disadvantage for a suspect to obtain that weapon.

http://www.nij.gov/topics/law-enforcement/officer-safety/use-of-force/Pages/continuum.aspx

 

3.  Video clips and sound bites are not thoughtful analysis

A few months ago a short video clip emerged from a gay rights parade in Pittsburgh.  The clip showed an officer punching a female participant in the parade and gave no other context.  Immediately, some individuals and entities latched on to the clip and claimed it was an example of police brutality.  Several days later, information came out that prior to the officer punching her the woman had attacked a parade protester and then had kicked the officer in the groin when he attempted to take her into custody for the assault.  None of that was shown on the video clip that had gone viral in a matter of hours.  This is an example of why it is so important to reserve judgment before all of the facts are available.

http://www.wtae.com/news/gay-pride-parade-arrestee-pleads-guilty/29274810

 

A Simple Test When Debating This Topic

Whether or not the individual you are talking with believes the police are evil; or that a particular race, socioeconomic group, or ethnicity is to blame; or members of a specific political party are at fault, just ask the person the question:  “All of them?”  If the person responds in the affirmative then you may be wasting your breath, but don’t give up.  Words can be polarizing, but they can also reverse the tide.

Have any thoughts?  Leave a comment!

J.J. Hensley is the author of RESOLVE, which is set against the backdrop of the Pittsburgh Marathon, Measure Twice, Chalk’s Outline, and other works. Hensley is a former police officer and former Special Agent with the U.S. Secret Service.

https://hensleybooks.wordpress.com
http://www.hensley-books.com
https://www.facebook.com/hensleybooks
https://www.goodreads.com/JJHensley
Twitter @JJHensleyauthor

Watch for my new book, BOLT ACTION REMEDY, in 2017!

AVAILABLE NOW!

image1Cyprus Keller wants a future.
Jackson Channing has a past.
Robert Chalk has a rifle and a mission.  Kill Cyprus Keller and anyone who gets in his way.

 

An addict is killing Pittsburgh city officials, but Homicide Detective Jackson Channing has his own addiction.

cropped-measure-twice-750-x-1200-jpeg.jpg

Also:

In the Pittsburgh Marathon, more than 18,000 people will participate. 4,500 people will attempt to cover the full 26.2 miles. Over 200 of the participants will quit, realizing it just wasn’t their day. More than 100 will get injured and require medical treatment. One man is going to be murdered.  When Dr. Cyprus Keller lines up to start the race, he knows a man is going to die for one simple reason. He’s going to kill him.

resolve-cover art CL (1)

Finalist – 2014 International Thriller Writers Awards – Best First Novel
Named one of the BEST BOOKS of 2013 by Suspense Magazine!
Top Ten Books of the Year – Authors on the Air

 And look for my short story FOUR DAYS FOREVER in the LEGACY anthology

 

Keeping Your Lips SEALed

It’s not an easy thing to strike a balance between National Security and Transparency.  Living in a democratic society necessitates the population enter into a social contract where some freedoms are surrendered so that many protections can be afforded.  Generally, this contract refers to the administration of justice and the fact criminal penalties are enforced for certain behaviors.  However some other rights, such as the “right to know” are surrendered at times.

padlocks

In recent months, a couple of Navy SEALs have come forward to discuss information pertaining to the raid that took the life of Osama Bin Laden.  These revelations have not been authorized by the government and are most certainly in violation of non-disclosure agreements signed by the individuals who are releasing the information.  These events raise the question:  Are the disclosures acceptable because of the public’s right to know?  I argue the disclosures are unacceptable, illegal, and possibly immoral.

 

POTENTIAL DAMAGE

This argument is fairly obvious.  Anytime information is released regarding national security related tactics and procedures, there is a threat that adversaries will use that information to develop countermeasures.  Sometimes only a few details are all that are needed to reverse engineer and an operation or allow opponents to deduce what methods and equipment were utilized.

PUTTING A HUMAN FACE ON A UNIT IS NOT ALWAYS A GOOD THING

This is a gray area that is difficult to explain.  There may be times when it may be beneficial for a military or law enforcement organization to show that their employees are people with genuine emotions, hopes, and problems.  The U.S. military can use public relations programs for recruiting purposes and police departments can promote community policing programs that will help secure neighborhoods and build goodwill.

However, some specialized units and agencies that deter enemy action through some level of intimidation are less likely to benefit from public relations activities that demonstrate the humanity of their members.  This is the case with Special Forces units just as it was true in my former organization, the Secret Service.  Sometimes an element of mystery can manifest itself into an ominous feeling in the gut of an adversary, and that ominous feeling can result in dissuading violent action or at least in causing hesitation before an attack.  When a U.S. Navy SEAL pops up on FOX News to talk about a mission, that element of mystery is diminished and opponents no longer see an elite warrior.  They see some guy with a name giving an interview that shines a light on internal procedures and operational tactics.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

LESSONS FROM THE GREATEST GENERATION

My grandfather was a heavy machine-gunner in World War II.  Over time, I’ve be able to determine that he was active in campaigns in North Africa and Europe, but for the life of me I have no idea what he experienced.  He died many years ago and, like many WWII veterans, he never spoke of the war.  That generation accomplished amazing things and experienced horrors many of us will never fully comprehend, but they did their duty and few rushed to the media or sought individual credit for their actions.  Because of this, they have become known as The Greatest Generation and will continue to be celebrated as an example of sacrifice and bravery.   Perhaps one of the downsides to the silence by The Greatest Generation is that some of their lessons have not gotten through to some modern-day warriors.  In recent decades, some soldiers and law enforcement officials have helped define recent generations as the Attention-Seeking Generation.  Whether or not the people who defeated Hitler, Mussolini, and Hirohito were truly different or the temptations as self-promotion are more prevalent today, I’m not sure.

CODE OF THE SAMURAI

I own a cool little book I pick up from time to time.  It’s something like 128 pages, called CODE OF THE SAMURAI and in its pages one can read about Bushido – the JapaneseSamuraiWay of the Warrior.  The book details many Samurai warrior traits including:  Duty, Service, Education, and… Modesty.    These are terms many organizations use, but few have employed them like the Samurai did.  Those traits are the reasons that, for centuries, Samurai have represented the very best in military service.  As a unit, I have nothing but respect for the Navy SEALS, just as I respect our other military entities.  But, when it comes to having a resounding effect throughout time, it’s hard to top the Samurai.

 

To put things in perspective, some of the first mentions of the word “Samurai” appeared in the 10th century while the U.S. Navy SEALS have only been around since the early 1960’s.  Today we have weapons that can destroy targets across an ocean, but we are still writing books and making movies about the samurai.  That’s quite an echo throughout history.

 

 

It’s ironic that those who are the quietest seem to be heard for the longest amount of time.  The Samurai did it by creating a culture of honor and respect.  The Greatest Generation shaped the world with courageous actions and a quiet dignity.  Now our warriors are being tempted to reveal operational details and are being seduced by bright lights and book deals.  A few are probably thinking that conducting interviews and smiling for the camera will help them leave their own mark in history.  A vast majority of our soldiers and cops serve honorably and stand by their oath to keep secret information secret.  As far as military and law enforcement organizations go, they will continue to do their best to enforce non-disclosure agreements and to educate on the importance of confidentiality.  Maybe it’s up to the general public to reinforce the fact that we understand and accept the social contract and that we expect our protectors to protect information as well.

I for one will not buy any book or see any movie that financially benefits a person who broke their word by seeking the spotlight.  Only time will tell how recent generations of protectors will be remembered.

Wouldn’t it be nice if the modern-day warrior turned out to be a lot more Samurai and a lot less Sound bite?

 

What are your thoughts on the recent disclosures by two Navy SEALS?  Leave a comment!

J.J. Hensley is the author of RESOLVE, which is set against the backdrop of the Pittsburgh Marathon, and Measure Twice – which also involves running.  Hensley is a former police officer and former Special Agent with the U.S. Secret Service.

RESOLVE was a finalist for Best First Novel by the International Thriller Writers organization and was named one of the Best Books of 2013 by Suspense Magazine.

https://hensleybooks.wordpress.com
http://www.hensley-books.com
https://www.facebook.com/hensleybooks
https://www.goodreads.com/JJHensley
T
witter @JJHensleyauthor

AVAILABLE NOW!

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

An addict is killing Pittsburgh city officials, but Homicide Detective Jackson Channing has his own addiction.

Measure Twice 750 x 1200 jpeg

 

What You Don’t Know About Cops

Many of you may not know, but this week is National Police Week.  It’s a time when we are supposed to pay tribute to those who have fallen in the line of duty.  These are the men and women who run toward those things that drive others away.  They are the ones who risk everything to protect people they often do not know.  They are the ones who work odd hours, are underpaid, and stand out in thunderstorms when the traffic signals fail.

2014-logo-npw-dark-bkgd-web

They are also the ones who are often vilified, joked about, and stereotyped in fiction – and sometimes in real life.  Part of this is because many of the interactions members of the public have with police officers are not considered positive ones.  The most common is a traffic stop.  Nobody likes being “inconvenienced” by being the subject of a traffic stop.  Often, people think they are pointless and say, “I was just going 10 mph over the speed limit”.  What they don’t realize is that each traffic stop is an important component of public safety.

When I was working patrol on midnight shift in Chesterfield County, Virginia, I could pretty much guarantee that out of every 10 cars I stopped, 1 would be driven by a drunk driver.  I would also guess that 1 out of ever 20 drivers was wanted or had illegal drugs or guns in the car.  And if you have never walked up behind a car at 3 AM, not knowing if someone is pointing a gun at you through a tinted window… then you really don’t understand the concept that there is no such thing as a “routine” traffic stop.

There are so many things that people don’t see when it comes to the police.  They don’t see the resolution of a domestic violence call that happened behind closed doors.  They don’t see the runaway child taken home to terrified parents.  They don’t see the mentally ill subject who was safely restrained before he hurt himself.  In fact, those “routine” calls don’t even make the news.  These everyday calls for service are a blips on a radar that nobody seems to be manning.

And the one thing many people don’t see, because the statistics are spread out through multiple jurisdictions – they don’t see the 105 officers killed in the line of duty in 2013.  Instead, they see the donut-eating cop being stereotyped on TV.  The corrupt cop terrorizing citizens in the movies.  The lazy cop shrugging off a distress call in a novel (because the author needs the non-cop protagonist to be the hero).  The end result is that when we see a police officer having a cup of coffee at McDonald’s, part of us wonders if he or she is slacking off.  Then, we go back to our jobs and take our own coffee breaks without a second thought.

This week… let’s not do that.  Thank a cop.

J.J. Hensley is the author of RESOLVE and other works of fiction.

RESOLVE has been named a finalist for Best First Novel by the International Thriller Writers organization.

RESOLVE was named one of the Best Books of 2013 by Suspense Magazine.

His upcoming novel – Measure Twice – will be published by Assent Publishing

http://www.hensley-books.com
https://www.facebook.com/hensleybooks
https://www.goodreads.com/JJHensley