Posts tagged “clevelland police

Book Review: “Badge 387″

Badge 387: The Story of Jim Simone, America’s Most Decorated Copbadge-387, is authored by Cleveland-area crime journalist Robert Sberna. While conducting research pertaining to police officer use of force, the author learned more about Officer Jim Simone, who members of the news media and many in Cleveland referred to as “super cop.”

Simone’s saga is not simply that of a dedicated rank-and-file cop; this is a story of an American hero. After graduating from high school in the mid-1960s, Simone received an academic scholarship to college in Ohio. A year earlier, President Lyndon Johnson had escalated the war in Vietnam. Just prior to college classes starting, Simone’s father — a World War II veteran — walked into his son’s bedroom and said, ‘There’s a war going on. Get your ass down there and enlist.’

Simone later became a member of the U.S. Army’s 101st Airborne. During a tour in Vietnam, he was wounded twice, and received two bronze stars and two purple hearts. The second time, medics initially wrote him off for dead, but he recovered. While convalescing at Walter Reed Hospital, an official asked Simone to enter officers’ candidate school. Simone refused saying that he had killed more people than he could remember and he was mentally done with the military.

Later, after becoming a member of the Cleveland PD, Simone set record levels for arrests and other activity. He also drew the ire of other officers because he did not believe in professional courtesy.

In December 1983, Simone and his fellow officers searched the basement of a church for a carjacking and robbery suspect. The officers didn’t know it, but the suspect — a convicted felon strung out PCP — likely wanted to commit suicide by cop. Armed with a revolver, the suspect was hiding in a basement closet and, as officers attempted to clear the closet, shot Simone in the face. The round exited the back side of Simone’s skull. Two other officers were also shot before the shooter was killed. When fellow officers finally made it to his side, Simone told them that he knew that he was dying, but, miraculously, he survived.

There is another interesting story in this book. A colleague of Simone’s shot several people who were African-American (the five people shot by Simone were white). Although Simone was viewed as super cop, the other officer was repeatedly harassed by the media, the brass at the Cleveland PD, and by critics in the community. This officer told the author that such actions lead to “de-policing,” where good cops simply throw up their hands and refuse to do their jobs for fear of retribution. The officer correctly noted: “Political correctness is killing this country.”

One thing that impressed me about this book was the objectivity of the author. Mr. Sberna carefully sifted through the facts, and viewed events and the actions of officers in their totality. One call tell that the author is a throwback to an era when journalists reported the news, and did not seek to make news or carry water for a particular ideological agenda. In this book, when officers were out of order, Sberna called them out; however, the author also held political figures to the same standard. This would never happen in Milwaukee, where the anti-police agenda at the newspaper is evident for all to see.

Overall, this is a very good book. Anyone interesting in entering law enforcement or seeing what police officers must deal with should read this book. I give it five stars, and guarantee that it will never be reviewed by anyone at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.