A Michigan police officer recounts 25 years of nabbing suspects and terrifying life-or-death moments.
Christensen has seen enough danger for many lifetimes. His gritty, often shocking memoir describes the hazards and heroics of being a cop in Lawrence and Kalamazoo, Michigan, from 1988 to 2012. Always eager for difficult assignments, Christensen worked the most violent inner-city neighborhoods. As if this wasn’t perilous enough, Christensen also served as a firefighter, EMT and an Army Reserve soldier, once volunteering to go to Afghanistan as a combat adviser. The book opens with a graphic account of how, as a young officer, Christensen was badly beaten by a drunk driver. Though he managed to knock the suspect unconscious with a last-ditch knee strike to the face, the incident spurred a lifelong desire to improve his battle readiness. This desire would serve him well as he confronted nightmarish situations—encountering bullet-ridden murder victims, managing enraged rioters near Western Michigan University, delivering a baby in a hotel laundry room. Christensen is a gifted storyteller with a penchant for grisly details worthy of a detective novel. Once while assisting at the scene of a fatal car crash, Christensen helped remove bodies from the wreckage: “We simply placed three gut piles into three separate body bags. The backseat passenger was literally scraped off the back seat with gloved hands. There was nothing to pick up. I just scooped up guts in my hands and flung them into the body bag.” Christensen states he doesn’t intend his story to be an instructional guide, but there is a significant teaching component to the book. He offers tips for fellow officers on topics ranging from traffic-stop safety to career planning. More importantly, civilian readers will gain a deeper understanding of what police officers face. The danger cannot be overstated—more than 4,200 officers died in the line of duty during the author’s career. Christensen writes candidly about the emotional and psychological aspects of the job. His personal revelations shatter more than one stereotype about law enforcement.
A sinewy, stomach-twisting memoir that shows it takes more than a badge and gun to be a cop.