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Required reading: Blood Lessons

By Lt. Jim Glennon, Lombard, IL (ret.)

In the early 1980s I was a young police officer who had the opportunity to thumb through a book titled: Street Survival. One of the authors of this innovative book was Chuck Remsberg. What piqued my interest about the manuscript was that it included tactics, true life and death stories, and thought processes about my profession that I had never heard before. After reading a portion of the book, which belonged to a friend from another department, I approached our department’s training sergeant and suggested we buy a copy.

His reaction stymied me as he balked at the request brushing me off with excuses that included: limited training funds that precluded a purchase as high as $18.00, the need for review and a recommendation by an out-of-touch supervisor, and an alignment of both Venus and Mars during the last quarter of the fiscal cycle. Confused and mesmerized by this display of absurdity I bought the book with my own money, brought it to the PD, and added it to our dismal library.

Eventually, as more forward thinking people became involved in our training division, additional copies were purchased that were added to the library only to be borrowed permanently by members of the department: a testament to both the popularity of the book and the lack of integrity on the part of the book borrowers.

Three years ago PoliceOne bought Calibre Press. Chuck Remsberg, one of the creators of Calibre and the author of the three book trilogy, was (and still is) a featured writer for the policeone.com website. Since I am one of the Street Survival instructors I had the privilege of meeting Chuck and have had the opportunity to get to know him over the past couple of years. At the 2007 ILEETA conference Chuck, to my surprise, sat through my four-hour presentation on communication and body language and took notes the entire time.

I make that point because that’s who Chuck is: a writer, an observer, a researcher, and a continuous student of the law enforcement profession. Chuck was never a cop. He worked for Motorola films writing stories based on real life incidents and the cops who lived them. Street Survival came from those stories as did the follow-up books that completed the Trilogy: Tactics for Criminal Patrol and The Tactical Edge.

This brings me to Blood Lessons, his latest masterpiece.

At a PoliceOne conference two months ago Chuck read several pages from a chapter of his new book to everyone in attendance. Ten minutes later, Chuck, and most everyone in the room were (at the very least) misty-eyed. His recounting of a police survivor who was disfigured, blinded, and partially paralyzed from a felonious attack, but who, despite physical and psychological pain, more than put his life back together was both chilling and emotionally inspiring.

Because of my involvement with PoliceOne I was given an advanced copy of Blood Lessons. To describe it as a labor of love would not do it justice. With gripping accounts of over 20 different incidents involving life and death for members of the law enforcement community it is a must read book.

Where the trilogy was tactical and educational, Blood Lessons is personal and emotional. And speaking personally, I don’t know how one can do something like this. I can’t imagine sitting in the homes of these officers and their families, listen to their harrowing experiences and the aftermaths they all faced without it affecting me to the point of paralysis. How is it possible to hear these accounts, separate the emotion from the professional goal and then structure a manuscript that effectively conveys both the incident and the victory that materialized from the souls of these people? Oh, I know how, get Chuck Remserg to do it.

I’m not trying to sell this book. I get nothing for writing this article.

But I will tell you that I believe every law enforcement officer, everyone who has a family member in this profession, and anyone wishing to understand the true nature of our collective worlds needs to read this book. It is an outstanding piece of work and may save officer’s lives in more ways than they can possibly imagine.

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