Welcome to my website. Several years ago, I was sitting in a classroom of detectives while a friend of mine spoke about decorum, behavior, and professional expectations of police officers in a court of law. As a district court judge and experienced prosecutor, he commanded everyone’s attention and respect. He led with a simple comment that immediately went to the top of my list of “things to never forget.”
“When you take the witness stand and are asked to identify yourself,” he started, “you need to begin with your name and then your title and not the other way around. Your name is who you are; your title is what you do. I want to know who you are before I care about what you do.”
I honestly can’t think of a simpler life lesson that had a bigger impact or was more important in my career than that down-to-earth comment. It was one of those “Aha” moments of enlightenment that I now follow every day and inject into every class I teach.
I have spent the past fifty years working in one capacity or another in the criminal justice system. I spent thirty-three years as a sworn police officer with a majority of that time working as both an investigator and an academy instructor. I “retired” to take a position as an assistant professor teaching classes on investigation and courtroom testimony to students in a forensic science program at a Boston medical school. Seven years later, I “retired” again to become the Director of Public Safety at a college in the heart of Boston. Now, with decades of experience, an overflowing satchel of institutional knowledge and formal education behind me, I have turned my attention to writing, teaching and hopefully, showing the human side of policing.
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Television, movies and books project an unrealistic and often tainted image of who we are, what we do and why we do it. I, like most of my peers, pay little attention to those stereotypes, because that is not who we are. We don’t recognize those fictional characters as our contemporaries. We are human beings, not actors following a script.