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THE

NIGHT POLICE

BEYOND THE LINE OF DUTY

 
CHRIS BERG
PAUL JAMES SMITH

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the

night police

 

 

 

 

 

 

Policing in the 70s, 80s, and 90s. The raw, unvarnished truth.  Find out about the cops who owned the night, who dominated the streets.


Chris Berg and Paul James Smith’s debut book

The Night Police is true-crime fiction told by

two cops who have been there.  

                     

 

In this white-hot, true crime anthology you'll meet the dangerous men that are The Night Police

 

Listen in as real-life urban policing is graphically exposed from the inside. 
        
Never politically correct, the hard edges have not been ground smooth to avoid abrasive thoughts or suspect tactics. 

In The Night Police a kindly, rust belt tavern hosts four veteran lawmen who’ve gathered for a cathartic night of drinking and a homecoming of sorts.

 

The graphic and often extraordinary tales they swap are just the prelude to an unfolding and stunning revelation. These men and rogue trooper Max Golden take a dark journey together and no one escapes unscathed.            

Find out about the lawmen who rode out the final chapters of the millennia and dominated after nightfall. The street monsters, The Night Police. ​

 

 

abouT the
Authors

Paul James Smith and Chris Berg

Circa 1980

 

Paul served community and country in a variety of pursuits from age 19 to age 59. After completely flunking out at San Diego State, a Marine Corps recruiter handily outsmarted him, and he fell for the old “aviation guarantee”. This launched a long and checkered career of service as enlisted marine, a local lawman, Federal Agent, and reserve Coast Guard officer where his assignments included command of two expeditionary units, Commander, Maritime Security Force, Guantanamo Bay, and four wartime deployments to the Persian Gulf. 

 

Paul’s 31 years of cop experiences ran the gamut-Patrolman, Field Training Officer, SWAT, Detective, Federal Agent, Sniper and Sniper Instructor, and National Tactical Team Leader. The cases were varied too; seizing meth labs, busting outlaw motorcycle gangsters, and special operations at Ruby Ridge and Waco.

 

After retiring from active service, Paul and his wife Kay ran a gun shop in Alaska for a few years. He built custom rifles, and they collectively lost their minds to boredom. They now live at the edge of Puget Sound in the Pacific Northwest, he writes, she gardens, together they go Dungeness crabbing from their kayak. They are enjoying life to the fullest. 

CLICK HERE TO READ PAUL'S FULL BIOGRAPHY

chris berg

In 1977 Chris became the third generation of his family to sign on as a lawman. Serving as a patrol officer, evidence technician (long before CSI was a thing), and vice/intelligence detective it was his posting as an undercover narcotics agent that fit him best. He relished the life of hand to hand undercover drug “buys”, clandestine lab investigations and the requisite counterfeit persona. Chris still revels in the adventures and friendships that come with being part of the police fraternity.

 

After retiring due to injury, Chris had a successful second career in corporate America and… it bored him to death. The high point of that life was traveling the world; Malaysia, Dubai, Beijing, Moscow, Rio, Hong Kong and much more. Still, that world was never a fit, not for an ex-Night Policeman.

 

Chris and his wife Janet now call southwest Florida and Boston home. Their daughter Kelsey, currently in grad school, is likely the fourth generation of law enforcement in the family. Chris keeps up with his passions: baseball, fishing, and all things cooking and BBQ, not necessarily in that order.

CLICK HERE TO READ CHRIS' FULL BIOGRAPHY

Paul james Smith

 
 

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WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING ABOUT THE NIGHT POLICE

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"The Night Police is an excellent read. Full of action based on real-life events, you won't want to put it down. For those in law enforcement, the book has a realistic feel of day to day events on duty. For those not familiar with law enforcement, the book is fast-paced and entertaining. "

- Hilary Romig, Reviewer

 

"Retired cops Berg and Smith offer an unapologetically politically incorrect look at the lives of Midwestern cops in this collection of fictionalized stories based on their experiences"

- Publishers Weekly

"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." - Click Here To Read More.

- The Horror Report

“I love THE NIGHT POLICE’s authentic feel. It propelled me along a harrowing journey into the unseen world of adrenaline and pursuit that left me wanting more!”

 

    Andrew Peterson, Internationally bestselling 

author of the Nathan McBride series    

 

“Fascinating, gut-wrenching, highly entertaining…a rare tale that this reader will not forget. It reads like the truth…an amazing novel.”

 

    The editors at BookBaby

 

“Once you pick up THE NIGHT POLICE, you’ll have a tough time putting it down! The tales are apt to leave you with the same odd sensation in the pit of your stomach felt by the cop who lived to tell the tale…”

 

    Rob Hanley, Former writer at The Los Angeles Times; 

Editor at The San Diego Union-Tribune

"This is a work truly difficult to put down, even in the moments that rend the heart and soul. So immersive is the writing that the reader cannot help but feel transported into the screaming police cruiser, amidst the fog of war, and back again to the duo of relief and melancholy at end of watch. We hear the author’s voices, their shouts and laughter and tears translate as clearly and cleanly as if we were in the mix alongside them. 

 

At its core, the gift of this writing is empathy for our guardians, if only a sliver. For even now, THE NIGHT POLICE have the watch, and we owe our relative tranquillity to them."

 

Charlie Gris, Buffalo,  NY   

Advance Reader

"Are you game to be transported into the lives of THE NIGHT POLICE? How does it really feel to be in their boots, to feel the other side only the inner circle knows? Reading the experience from the point of view of THE NIGHT POLICE themselves is an exceptionally rich experience.

 

In some places  it hurts and stuns. It’s funny, poignant and at times, bizarre. By the final chapter you may even question yourself for any separation you may have felt between them and us”. 

Randy Kirwan, San Rafael, CA  

Advance Reader

"A great job by Berg and Smith. THE NIGHT POLICE is in the vein of Michael Connolly and the gritty deeds done by his Harry Bosch character.

 

Truly a page-turner. The sensory descriptions were real, the sounds and smells put you on the beat with THE NIGHT POLICE."

Tom Stuhlreyer, Milwaukee, WI  

Advance Reader

"I reviewed the book as a 30 plus year veteran cop from a major metropolitan police department, and I can tell you THE NIGHT POLICE is on target with every salvo beginning to end. The book accurately portrayed the path of a cop’s career from bright-eyed rookie to grizzled veteran. Parts of the book were told in such a way that it brought me back to scenes from my own career and brought an unexpected rush of emotions, good and bad.

 

I had to put it down at times to process old feelings, and it reminded me of the deep bond that forms between cops, a bond that lasts a lifetime. When I finished, all I could say was “Wow man... wow!”

 

Sgt. Brett Linden, San Jose PD, Retired  

Advance Reader 

 

EXCERPTS FROM THE NIGHT POLICE SERIES

Heckle and Jeckle

 

Officer Ron Johnson was in a serious discussion with his graveyard shift beat partner, Officer Max Golden. Because of their similar time on the department and their propensity to get into shit, or otherwise stir things up, they had been tagged Heckle and Jeckle.

 

The senior of the two, Heckle (Officer Ron Johnson) was explaining why they urgently needed a confidential informant. Jeckle (Officer Max Golden) was nodding in agreement. “Jeckle, we will always be small-time if we don’t start developing snitches. We’ll never be street monsters, let alone detectives. Shit, they could transfer us to day shift!”

 

Jeckle bristled at the threat of day shift. “Let’s watch Brett Bollinger’s house tonight…shake down anybody we see leaving. If we catch somebody holding, we tell ’em they gotta snitch or else.”

The plan was beautiful in its simplicity. Everyone in the free world knew that Brett was a coke dealer. The narcs knew it well but were trying to work that into something bigger. They had shut Heckle and Jeckle down when they went to the narcs with what they thought was probable cause for a search warrant of the Bollinger home. The dynamic duo were disappointed when they were told to leave Brett Bollinger alone. However, the narcs didn’t say anything about shaking down his visitors.

A couple of cars had come and gone from Bollinger’s place, but calls for service kept them from making the car stops. At 1:30 in the morning, Jeckle came on the radio. “Northern, B11.”

“Go B11.”

“I’ll be out of the vehicle with a suspicious person, 2300 block of Lakeville.”

“Roger B11. Unit to fill with 11?”

“Northern, B12, I’m a block away. I’ll handle.”

“Roger B12.”

Jeckle could hear Heckle’s squad car coming the entire time, assuredly more than “a block away.” The big 440 Dodge sounded like it could suck pigeons off the telephone wires when Heckle put his foot into it. 

 

Moments later the darkened cruiser slid up to Jeckle and his suspicious person. Heckle jumped out. “Hello, Mike Cutler. Long time, no see.”

 

Cutler did not seem at all happy to see Officer Johnson.

 

“Hey, shit bag. Where you coming from?”

“No place.”

“Must be coming from somewhere…everybody does. I just came from Lakeville Park, so where you coming from?”

Jeckle chimed in, “I’m pretty sure I saw him leave Brett Bollinger’s place.”

Cutler visibly squirming now.

 

Heckle, “Well up jumped the devil! Brett Bollinger is a drug dealer! Mikey, you weren’t at a drug dealer’s house, were you?”

Cutler wanted to rabbit, but his drug-addled brain telegraphed his move about 4 minutes before his feet could get going. Jeckle wrapped a large gloved hand around Mike Cutler’s skinny neck and marched him over to the front of the cruiser. With his other hand he started turning out the contents of the hype burglar’s clothing.

 

On pocket number two Jeckle came up with two decent-sized glassine bags with white powder in them. It was enough to charge anyone with possession for sale.

“Uh-oh. Mikey, I’m so disappointed in you. I think this means you have to go to prison.” Jeckle snapped his handcuffs on Cutler’s skinny wrists.

Cutler now blubbering and blowing snot bubbles. “I can’t go to prison, man,” he wailed.

“Should have thought before you scored from Bollinger. I agree with you though, a little skinny shit like you will not last a week in prison. Some big grabboon is going to punk you out. What do you think, Heckle?”

“I think you’re right, Jeckle. About a week after he lands in Big Muddy, you’ll be able to turn a moped around inside his skinny asshole!”

“Big Muddy?” Cutler sobbed.

“Yeah, sure. Big Muddy, Mid-Central, Ozark, it’s all the same. Your skinny ass. Big black boyfriend with a dick like an anaconda.”

“Puhleeeeeze, you guys, I can give you something. I can give you Bollinger. You just saw me go there, I can buy from him!”

Gunfire

 

A deep, shrouding fog concealed crumbling fragments of asphalt and gravel that slipped from the old highway downhill into the wet marsh grasses. An unsettling quiet and a chill of melancholy coated the inky wetlands. 

 

His mind wandering from the drudgery of another crash report, California Highway Patrol Sergeant William Taft sang to himself the single line of Dean Martin’s, Baby Its Cold Outside that he could remember. He drifted to thoughts of Christmas morning, three short days to finish his shopping, tinsel and cinnamon, and his tiny daughter’s laughter.

Reviewing his troop’s crash reports under the yellowish glow of a tiny dash-lamp, he was deep in concentration when he heard the first shot. Alarmed, he listened through his open window. A second, third, fourth report. In rapid succession. 

Coffee out the window, Taft pushed his cruiser into the muddied dampness. He cut the median to complete a U-turn and immediately merged onto a desolate Highway 21 northbound.  

Did he hear another shot? It was too late, too dark and too damn foggy for duck hunters to be working the adjoining sloughs.

 

Again, gunfire. The trooper, pulling the mic towards his mouth 

“Dispatch, 8S35”

“Dispatch, go ahead”

“8S35 investigating shots fired near the Rio Leone overpass at 21.”

“Possible shots fired, Rio Leone at 21. Unit to fill?”

The prowler’s lights burrowed into the gloom, Taft turned down the Motorola radio and its intermittent patrol chatter. Those last shots had to be from a pistol. Taft had been on the job just over 7 years, and intuitively he knew. He knew this was wrong.

In a matter of seconds, a nebulous amber bloom winked ahead. It only took a few seconds more for the lone trooper to make out a bright white spotlight, and headlights, a hint of red, tunneling into the mists. Emerging from the fog, taillights and the contour of what was obviously a police car fully took form.

Taft picked up the mic, 

“Dispatch, 8S35, 11-96, Highway 21, Northbound, about a half mile north of Rio Leone overpass. Push my fill code 3”. 

Nothing about this felt right. Taft slowed, looking, smelling, listening, trying to take it all in. Unbuckling his seat belt, he pulled onto the shoulder of the highway, behind the green and white Delano County Sheriff’s Office cruiser. Both of its front doors wide open.

“Dispatch 8S35, I’ve got an S/O cruiser... UTL any occupants” he added.

Slapping the mic onto the dash, the trooper popped his driver’s door and shoved it with his heavy boot. He grabbed his Kel-lite and stepped on to the lonely ribbon of asphalt.

 

His senses jacked, Taft lit up the roadway, the rear of the S/O cruiser and off to the sides as far as he could see. Nothing clued him into the situation.

 

Without looking he reached down an plucked his baton from the carrier on his driver’s side door and slipped it into the ring on his Sam Browne gun belt.

..........

Only six miles north of Calpine was the the Striped Bass Tavern, Stripers to the locals. A long plank of tortured wood and dozen chrome barstools, their red vinyl upholstery in differing stages of neglect greeted those bold enough to push into the room. A derelict shuffleboard, a couple of taps, and a battered back bar dominated the railroad flat style saloon.

 

Mostly bottom-shelf booze and a box or two of the valley’s finest box wine filled in the gaps between dusty fishing lures, nets, rods and reels and ancient pictures of angling trophies past. Some of Daddy’s favorite tribute mementos of the Solons, the Pacific Coast league’s single A team in Sacto were wedged into the clutter as a designer touch. In an old bathtub in place below, a slurry of melting ice, a dozen or so Miller’s, “The Champagne of Bottled Beer” and a quart can of Old Sacramento tomato juice, long since prime, bobbed in the wash.

A single strand of Christmas lights, on ‘random blink’ stretched the length of bar. It ended in unkempt coil of mostly blue, red and green on the floor next to the stuffed carboard box assigned as trash. They hardly detracted from the gloom of Stripers. 

Tommy Abraham, aka Daddy, stood behind the bar staring blankly out the grimy window to the street. Grubby overalls and the ubiquitous flannel shirt rolled to elbows complemented his long gray hair and beard.  

His only customer that night was a regular, Mikey 'C'. A rice farmer by day and morose and sullen drunk by night. Just returning from the “pit” as the locals called the shitter (and for good reason once you had to opportunity to experience it) Mikey 'C' was still wiping his hands on his sweatshirt when he slid his bony ass onto the bar stool closest to Daddy.

 

He pulled his Four Roses Bourbon off the soaked cardboard coaster and drug it to his lips. As they both sat in silence, they too heard the first shot. And the following three.

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© 2021 by Chris Berg & Paul James Smith.