About Author Dave Case|
Child of the Midwest
I was born in Evansville, Indiana and shortly thereafter my family moved east by some fourteen miles to Boonville. We stayed there for a few years-long enough for my sister Juli to arrive-before my Dad, an Air Traffic Controller, began his ascent in the FAA.
We lived in Terre Haute, Indiana, as well as Peoria and Arlington Heights, Illinois before landing more permanently in Burnsville, Minnesota, some eighteen miles south of Minneapolis. I graduated from Burnsville High School in 1980.
My college career began at the University of Minnesota and took a small, double-secret-probation-detour to Normandale Community College. I did the five-year plan, and eventually left with enough credits to graduate. But I never spent enough time in any one Degree program to count for anything. I wanted to be a cop in Minnesota, but that required a two-year, law-enforcement-specific degree. Although I had spent five years in college, not one of those classes applied to Minnesota's requirements to be hired. (I did eventually graduate some eighteen years later from St. Xavier University on Chicago's South Side, with a degree in Studio Arts.)
With Minnesota out of the picture, I began looking for a police job somewhere else and my first choice was Chicago. I took Chicago's police entry exam in 1985, the first time in the Department's history that non-City residents were allowed to apply. As with most things in my life, I was fortunate. It was a matter of being in the right place at the right time and with the right attitude. Although I had also begun the hiring process with the Border Patrol and the South Dakota Highway Patrol, I withdrew from them when Chicago began to look good. I even moved permanently to the City before I was actually hired.
I made it through the Chicago Police Academy and was excited when I got assigned to the 007th District-Englewood. I spent two eye-opening years in uniformed patrol. I was fortunate enough to work with a great copper-Arnie-and he got us on the tactical team (in plain clothes) just after I finished my second year on the street. And man, did we have fun. But, all good things have to come to an end. In 1990, Arnie went to the 014th District and I transferred to the 018th District.
I spent a year back in uniform in 018 before getting on the tactical team there. My years in 018 tact had a major influence on my life both as a cop and as a writer. If I thought 007 was fun, 018 was even better. My tact team worked for two great bosses and with three other equally talented (well, almost equally talented) tact teams. We were the best of the best and we handled Cabrini Green like no one else could.
In 1993, my fiancé and I decided to try and live in Minnesota. I got a job with the St. Paul Police Department and took a Leave of Absence from CPD. I went through their Academy and learned more than I expected to, I have a lot of respect for the entire Department. However, circumstances surfaced, mostly my love for Chicago, and I found myself craving to return. So, we did. I was fortunate in my time in St. Paul, what a great bunch of guys and girls. I still have quite a few friends there, but unfortunately, we all lost Ronnie Ryan in 1994.
I was lucky and was able to get back to 018, straight to the tact team. It was like I never left. I have been so fortunate in my career to work with P.O.'s, sergeants and lieutenants who have all had a profound impact on my career. It was-and still is in most cases-an honor to know them, let alone to have worked so closely with each and every one of them. My time in 018 was special, but it too, came to an end in 1994.
In another moment of being in the right place at the right time with the right attitude, I found myself going to the Special Operations Section-thanks to Arnie and the Baran. I landed on yet another awesome team comprised of some of the most aggressive, non-stop-working police officers I'd ever met. The good times continued to roll. We worked Citywide, and I have the honor to be able to say that I've locked up an asshole in every District in the City; and, since there's 25 Districts, that's saying something.
While assigned to SOS, I was selected to work on our Hostage Barricade Terrorist Team (SWAT Team) first as a containment officer, then as a sniper. I was very happy, and got married right after landing in SOS. Our first kid arrived about the time I was selected as a sniper.
After six years in SOS, I made Sergeant and found myself back in uniform, back on the South Side in the 003rd District. Our second son arrived shortly thereafter. I learned a lot in 003 about being a Sergeant and about being there for my officers. But then again I'd worked for some of the best, and if I hadn't taken away anything from them, shame on me. I was fortunate enough to be asked to work the Summer Mobile Patrol along the lakefront in the summer of 2001. It was fun, and I made some good friends, but it got tense following 9/11.
Then my dream came true. I found myself back in the Special Operations Section-my home-this time as a Sergeant. As my daughter made her way into the world, I had the honor of having a team of my very own fire-breathing, combat-tested, door-kicking warriors ready to leap into the path of trouble and declare, "This far, no further." And there, in SOS, I would have been happy and content to stay and work the street with my team of dedicated police officers.
But, I'm sure you've noticed the pattern by now…nothing stays the same. After four years in SOS as a Sergeant, I was asked to transfer to the Education and Training Division-our Police Academy-to work for a close friend. It wasn't an easy decision to leave SOS. But the mission of the Academy-to produce the most capable, able-bodied police officers possible-is a worthy commitment. And it's one that I'm willing to dedicate my professional being to-at least until the next change comes along.