Introduction from the book: On Being a Cop


Below is the introduction to the book, On Being a Cop

I had cheated death; a bad guy’s bullet missed its mark and
mine did not. But strangely, my first emotion didn’t flood over me
until a few hours later in the early morning hours, at home, in my
children’s room. My eyes welled and I swiped at my face with my
black speckled hands. I could smell the gunpowder residue. Chris,
age five, Craig, three and a half, and Jay, just seven weeks old, were
sleeping soundly. I stroked their backs ever so gently and fought to
control myself. Their mother, my wife, was being prepared for surgery
at this very moment, and in a year, that monster we call breast
cancer would tear her from our lives. Had that errant bullet found
its target tonight, the boys would have truly become orphans.

You may ask why would anyone want to be a police officer?
Particularly a man or woman with children? The truth is, law enforcement
was never an objective in my planned career path. But
Confucius said, “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to
work a day in your life.” In my case “the job,” as cops are wont to
call it, chose me, and it turned out to be both a major career change
and a job that I loved. Sometimes, we put ourselves into a box for
a variety of reasons, some of them very good reasons. But the wise
person will be alert for cracks in the walls of that box and either
patch them or use them to break out.

No one understands better than I do that breaking out of our
personal box may be difficult. But we owe it to ourselves to be alert
to the possibilities and to evaluate them with the best judgment
we can apply. The fact is, throughout our lives we should strive to
grow, to explore, to discover, and most importantly, to change in
both small and large ways—it’s called maturing, and it’s a lifelong

Ride with my son Jay and me, both of us cops, as we experience
the unbridled variety of police work in the City of Chicago.
Jay and I only rode together for one night, but you’ll be surprised
at the similarity in our experiences as we laugh, cry, and cling to
family, before and after moments of humor, loss, and profound
tragedy—the law enforcement stew. Friends, family, fatherhood,
and faith have strengthened us and helped to see us through heartbreak,
both on the streets and at home. In this collection of short
stories, all based upon actual incidents, it is our hope that you will
grow with us in a profession that we found to be both intense and
rewarding. No matter your vocation or occupation, I believe these
lessons from the street can be applied to your daily living.

Most importantly, it is our hope that this book will help you
to see police officers as human beings. Human beings who on occasion
make mistakes, but more importantly, human beings who
are spouses, parents, siblings, and neighbors. Human beings who
stand between the predator and the preyed upon in our society. By
that definition alone, police work is indeed a noble profession.

So escape your box for at least a brief time, double-check your
equipment belt, climb into that blue and white squad, fasten your
seatbelt, and experience life on the streets of Chicago as a cop. Jay
and I promise you quite a ride. Then join the moderated forum
at and share your impressions and opinions
with other readers.

Books autographed by the authors are available online for $16.46, a 45% discount:

Showing 3 comments

  • Robin

    I love hearing and reading all of your stories, even if I’ve heard them before. Its what makes us human, its our primal instinct to share our lifes stories. Its how family defines itself, through stories, traditions, and shared experiences. Thanks for being someone who helps me define what family means.

  • Bill Kushner

    In spite of “having been there, done that” or most of “that” I immensely enjoy reading your articles and the entire book. You and Jay have done a great thing. It is truly unfortunate that so many social liberals area unable/unwilling to take a moment to walk a mile in our shoes; to cradle the toddler beaten to death by her father, to hear the last gasps of a young man whose life is ended too soon by bad choices he’s made, or to hear the pitiful wails of the survivors when told of a loved one’s death.
    Thanks for your service, your friendship and mentoring over the years. If I can ever be of any help, just give me a shout!


    • Jim Padar


      Thanks for your kind comments! I’m proud to call you a friend also…we have some exceptional history!


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