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The Cutting Room

Updated: Aug 24, 2023

Undercover Brothers

Paul and I want to share some of The Night Police that found the cutting room floor as we built the book. We’ve had requests for this stuff and frankly, it’s been fun revisiting many of the chapters that didn’t make the published version of The Night Police. Our plan is to share these ‘outtakes’ occasionally and hopefully, you’ll enjoy them and comment as the moment strikes you.

As always in The Night Police series, these are true events with the names and identifying details changed to protect the privacy of individuals.

Gil Gleason, aka “the Trapper”

This chapter, even though it didn’t make the final cut, is one of our favorites.

Undercover Brothers

Gilbert Joseph Gleason, aka “the Trapper” was a legend among lawmen in our state. He was the state Fish & Wildlife’s version of a street monster, known for his significant undercover expertise. He was also a take no prisoners, ass-kicker too. A few of his cases made their way out of the woods and more often than not, into 588 Burough, Far West District. 

Kramden and Johnson both came across Gil after he’d knocked down some seriously bad dudes, for selling, of all things, ducks, lots of ducks into Bristol City’s Chinatown.

The key difference between Bristol City’s Chinatown and other more well-known variants such as Manhattan’s or even San Francisco’s Chinatown was that their major source of revenue wasn’t tourism. Its economy was built for and was administered by the Chinese. This part of the Far West District was an almost exclusively Cantonese-speaking enclave. It still has an ornamental paifang or entrance arch at the start of Chung Wah Lane, the primary artery in this tight-knit community. The road signs were always in English, with Chinese characters translating the text. They still are.

The Nuojin He Jia Chinese Restaurant was famous amongst the locals. It was home to the working man and woman and specialized in soups and clay pot dishes. Minced pork, salted fish, Lap Chong sausage and duck. Nuojin He Jia sold a lot of duck. A lot. It was expensive to source as much domesticated duck as the restaurant could push out, especially considering their clientele was typically on the lower end of the income scale. And that’s where Gil came in.

Gil had been working undercover with Fish & Wildlife, infiltrating groups of what they called ‘duck draggers’ who’d resell the wild ducks they slaughtered by the thousands. They had lots of clients, but Nuojin He Jia was at the top of the list. They’d buy the ducks ‘as is’ with zero questions asked of the crooks. 

You might look at this and think, really, selling ducks doesn’t seem like such a big deal? But what Kramden and Johnson found out is that duck dragging is seriously big money. In fact, the boys in that business are essentially a rural crime syndicate. They are loosely organized and the profits from ground sluicing ducks are huge. Actually, almost pure profit. And protecting those profits made them seriously dangerous. And like most organized crime, they diversified their criminal enterprise.

As the Fish & Wildlife cops were serving a search warrant on two of these dirtbag rustlers, they happened to come across a stash of almost a half-pound of cocaine. Not to mention two M60 Pigs that fired 7.62x51mm NATO rounds and were used as the SAW or Squad Automatic Weapon for lots of infantry units. These were killing machines.

Surprisingly enough, when Gil and his partner, Dick Davidson, briefed the narcs on the seizures, the attending parties pretty quickly realized they were all of the same stripes. Undercovers of every kind shared the same fondness for action, the adrenaline rush, and a curious urge to push the boundaries on and off the job. The very real dangers they faced were also an attraction they couldn’t deny.

Kramden and Gil shared the same last name, Gleason. They had that in common. They also both liked to tip a few cocktails on occasion and smoke fine cigars or whatever ones were within reach. Downing an immense bone in rib eye at Jack’s Steak on 3’rd Avenue West became a ritual for the two of them. Or three of them, when Johnson could tear himself away from his life as a federal agent and join them.

Over the years the Trapper, Kramden and Johnson shared many choir practices. Three undercover amigos. They shared their stories, their pain and triumphs. While their professional paths only very occasionally crossed, their kinship and the brotherhood of law enforcement remained strong. Undercover cops, for the most part, are of the same mold. Cops are cops.

About The Night Police:


If you can't get enough of true crime podcasts, documentaries, and police procedurals, former law enforcement officers Chris Berg and Paul James Smith has written a book that you'll be unable to put down. The Night Police (March 24, 2020) is a no-holds-barred, unflinching, fictionalized version of real events that Berg and Smith experienced firsthand during their time in law enforcement in the 70s, 80s, and 90s. A look behind the curtain of the gritty world of policing. This is a book that will have readers turning pages and leave them wanting more. Click Here To ORDER BOOK

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3 comentarios

Thanks David, glad you liked it. You never kno where Gil will show up next. A Stud!

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David Langley
David Langley
23 ago 2020

Great exert on the "The Trapper" a solid beginning of a new character....too bad it didn't make the cut. As I read The Night Police, I could visualize my own similar experiences working Mids for 5 years. Great memories and friendships that last to this day.

Well done Chris and Paul.

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chris berg
chris berg
11 may 2021
Contestando a

Dave, that was the point to try to put us old coppers back in the groove. Glad it felt that way for you.

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