What it's like to be a cop

2008-10-01 00:00

I started this book reluctantly — neither a book nor a topic I would have chosen. However, I ended up engrossed and reading late into the night.

Brown was a police reservist at Mowbray Police Station in Cape Town for 10 years. Having been on the other side of the law during the apartheid struggle, becoming a reservist was an intriguing thing to do. The author writes: “Someone has to put on their boots and wade out into the sewage of human behaviour; that person is the dedicated, poorly paid and under-resourced policeman or woman.” This book is a record of some of Brown’s experiences wading into that sewage with them. As you’d expect, there is drama, suspense, trauma and tragedy. However, there are also moments of delightful humour, like the time a prostitute stole washing off a line and gave some of the items to her friends. Brown and the complainant patrolled the streets looking for the perpetrator with the victim alternately whimpering and growling as she saw her clothes on the local prostitutes. She did not want the pink negligee back, but she did retrieve her jacket from one of them.

“It is not, I think, the sudden fear-of-death shooting or the terrifying car chase that induces stress in the lives of police officers; it is rather the incremental accumulation of human tragedy, baseness, cruelty and grief.” That accumulation took its toll on Brown. He stopped being a reservist when he was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress syndrome. Writing this book formed part of his recovery. For many of those “dedicated, poorly paid and under-resourced” policemen or women getting out is not an option. My respect for them and my gratitude to them grew immensely.

This is a well-written and engaging book that deserves a wide reading.

Julia Denny-Dimitriou

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.