“The Job” by Steve Osborne is a memoir by a retired New York City police officer, and it really is a must-read to understand the challenges and dangers faced by police officers.
My husband is a retired police officer from metro Atlanta, and there were a number of things that Mike would say on a regular basis that Lt. Osborne said in his memoir. Osborne is funny and observant and opinionated and, ultimately, a good guy. He’s an adrenaline junkie who gets his fix by getting the bad guy. But he recognizes the world isn’t just divided into good guys and bad guys. People who commit crimes are people, too, with their own pathologies and thought processes. As a ‘good’ cop, Osborne does his best by understanding the mindset of the people he comes into contact with. The Job is not just a job for Osborne and most of his fellow officers — it is a way of life that is worth examining.
In a day and time when many headlines talk about the bad cops – the ones who engage in illegal activities and inappropriate brutality, it is important to get the perspective of someone like Osborne. Someone who follows the rules but doesn’t shy away from a fight, because he knows how quickly things can get dangerous – and deadly. Someone who understands the moral conundrum of protecting someone so they can live to victimize someone else again. Someone who gets that political pressure can get in the way of doing the work that really matters.
But seriously, aside from the societal reasons to read this book, it is a good read. Osborne’s voice is gritty and raw and real, and his humor is, at times, laugh out loud funny. He’s a good story teller – he makes you wish you could meet him in a bar somewhere and buy him a beer and get him talking. He will also make you cry, more than once, over things you never saw coming. He puts you inside the brotherhood of police officers and away from the headlines into the day to day difficulties of the life.
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