D.B. “Skip” Hadfield spent more than 40 years in police work, in the military and with sheriff’s offices in Arizona and Washington State. He has taken many of the lessons he acquired and distilled them into Police Philosophy.
The book is a string of Hadfield’s musings, totaling more than 2,000 entries. By turns cynical, sarcastic, touching, funny and crude, they fall into several categories: advice, thoughts great and otherwise, bon mots, mini-rants, cliches and stories from his days in law enforcement. He repeats certain themes – his distaste for criminals, his love of his job and family – and sometimes even specific pieces of wisdom are modified and recycled.
Hadfield’s life advice includes: “Cultivate the smile wrinkles at the corners of your mouth and eyes.” And from his mother: “Growing old is a habit busy people don’t have time to form.”
Other lessons are aimed at fellow law enforcement officers: “Always! Always! Always! Watch the hands. They can kill you. A vulgar mouth can not [sic],” and “You have to get to the point where a dead person is nothing more than a victim, and the gallons of blood on the floor is nothing more than evidence.”
While much of the advice is interesting, there’s an unsettling undercurrent here. Some thoughts from this law officer would seem better left unsaid: “Bad guys don’t play by the rules. Why should you?”; “Attack me! I need the practice.”; “Ambushin’, drygulchin’, and back shootin’ ain’t necessarily all bad.” His dislike of Presidents Clinton and Obama, Ted Kennedy, lawyers and the media is repeated regularly and bound to offend many readers. Finally, some entries seem to be just filler (“Why? Why not?”).
Most of the book is written in all capital letters, which can be distracting. (Oddly, the last 20 pages are presented in regular lower/upper case style.)
Veteran police officers and hard-core conservatives might appreciate Police Philosophy, but readers should be warned that it’s not for everyone.
Also available in hardcover and ebook.