Cleveland Cops: The Real Stories They Tell Each Other

Overview

“This book should be required reading for every elected official and for every citizen.” — Chief Edward P. Kovacic (retired), Cleveland Police Department

Gritty, scary, hilarious, and heartbreaking . . . these remarkable true stories will take you on the roller coaster ride that is life as a Cleveland police officer.

These are the real stories cops trade with each other after the shift, over a couple of beers. They’re stories the rest of us ...

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Overview

“This book should be required reading for every elected official and for every citizen.” — Chief Edward P. Kovacic (retired), Cleveland Police Department

Gritty, scary, hilarious, and heartbreaking . . . these remarkable true stories will take you on the roller coaster ride that is life as a Cleveland police officer.

These are the real stories cops trade with each other after the shift, over a couple of beers. They’re stories the rest of us rarely get to hear, because cops are often reluctant to open their world to outsiders. But now they share their compelling personal tales with the rest of us.

Listen in as dozens of cops—active and retired, young and old, from rookie to chief—tell about their most memorable moments patrolling the streets of Cleveland. The biggest arrests, the dumbest criminals, the funniest practical jokes, the most frightening calls . . . Their stories will give you goose bumps on one page and make you laugh until you’re gasping for breath on the next. Some hit like a punch in the gut, some will make you stop and wonder.

On this ride you’ll get a front-seat look at one of the toughest jobs in town—and gain a better understanding of the men and women who put their lives on the line every day to do it. A real eye-opener, and great fun to read.

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Editorial Reviews

Free Times
Some books are called great rides; Cleveland Cops is a ride-along, as officers of all ranks and departments, from retired Cleveland police chief Ed Kovacic down to the cadets, talk about memorable CSIs and Murray Hill street blues . . . [Offers] local readers the kinds of narratives one secretly hopes to hear when programming the latest frequencies on the Radio Shack scanner.
— Charles Cassady, Jr.
Bedford Times-Register
A fascinating collection of true tales from Cleveland police officers and retired officers . . . an honest look at what officers witness and experience every day.
— A.H . A.H
Medina County Gazette
If [this] new book by John H. Tidyman doesn’t make you want to run right out and join the force, nothing will.
— Erik Cassano
Sun News
Predictably, some of the stories are far too graphic to print here, both graphically funny and graphically tragic.
— Tom Corrigan
Free Times - Charles Cassady
Some books are called great rides; Cleveland Cops is a ride-along, as officers of all ranks and departments, from retired Cleveland police chief Ed Kovacic down to the cadets, talk about memorable CSIs and Murray Hill street blues . . . [Offers] local readers the kinds of narratives one secretly hopes to hear when programming the latest frequencies on the Radio Shack scanner.
Medina County Gazette - Erik Cassano
If [this] new book by John H. Tidyman doesn’t make you want to run right out and join the force, nothing will.
Sun News - Tom Corrigan
Predictably, some of the stories are far too graphic to print here, both graphically funny and graphically tragic.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781598510317
  • Publisher: Gray & Company, Publishers
  • Publication date: 7/1/2007
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 251
  • Sales rank: 1,408,249
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.62 (d)

Read an Excerpt

“So my partner and I . . .” [ Memorable Calls ]

Kevin Grady

Patrol Officer, Fourth District

In the fall of 1998, my first partner and I were in car 413. We were at East 143rd Street and Milverton Avenue. I was in the middle of a felony drug arrest when we heard a series of gunshots. It sounded like automatic gunfire. It turned out to be almost 40 blocks away, but I got on the radio and advised that I heard 15 or 20 rounds being fired.

A couple minutes later, I heard a call for shots fired into a house. It was around East 102nd Street. The front of the house was riddled with bullet holes. Turns out it was hit by an AK-47 on full automatic. Almost 40 bullet holes in the front of the house. This all happened around 12:30 or 1 o’clock in the morning.

I walked in the house. Immediately to my left was a room filled with a lot of people, mostly policemen. On the bed was a woman. The headboard of her bed faced the front of the house. Most of the bullets went right through her room. An AK-47 is a powerful round. Some of them went through the house and through the garage out back. The woman had been killed, shot to death while she was sleeping. Now remember, I only had about a year on the job at this time. The rounds had mutilated her; both of her eyes, for example, were gone.

But what shocked me was the way the family was handling it. Everyone was sitting at the dining room table, smoking cigarettes and drinking coffee. It was as if nothing happened, or it happened so often it wasn’t worth getting upset about. The mother was killed because one of the kids at the table hadn’t paid a drug debt. The victim was 47 years old and worked in a health care facility.

I remember a rookie, a black female rookie, was there and watching this scene and she became very upset because not one member of the family showed any concern for the mother. The rookie said, “How the hell can they just sit there acting like this? Their poor mother just got shot.” I said, “Welcome to the Fourth.”

Robert Cerba

Lieutenant, Fraternal Order of Police

One shift, I was working with my normal partner, Glen Jason. Winter of 1991. We received a call to assist EMS with a dead body in the Garden Valley Projects. We get down there and walk into the apartment. There’s a male between the bed and the wall, obviously dead, with a bunch of clothing covering him. Like, he had a pile of clothing on him and he fell off and it fell on him. Something didn’t look right.

I pulled a couple pieces off and there was blood all over his face. And there was a broomstick handle sticking out from under the clothes and everything else. I think you can figure where this is going. Needless to say, Homicide gets out there, we get our Scientific Investigation Unit out there. They start taking pictures of him after they took the clothing off. Here this guy had been shot and then stabbed in the neck. The knife was still sticking out of his neck. He had been beaten in the face with a baseball bat so bad that we didn’t know he was shot until he went to the coroner’s office. He had a broomstick shoved up his rear end. Somebody wanted this guy dead pretty bad.

For the next couple of days, we canvassed the whole area down there. I have what I call snitches out there. I was telling everyone, “If you get any information, call me.” Nobody wants to say anything. Everybody was quiet. It gets around the projects who done what. It gets around. But nobody was telling us anything. About a week later, me and my other partner, who was on the car, Steve Warshaw—he’s a lieutenant now—we were working together and we got a call down on Kinsman and Minnie. That’s a little side street that runs across from the drive-in. We got a call to go down there for males robbing people. They gave us a description. We go down there, and right at Kinsman and Minnie there was a little check cashing place, between 75th and 79th. We come pulling up and there were people matching that description right there.

We come flying up, jump out, grab them, and I threw them on the wall. Right then, the third guy comes around the corner. My partner spots him and he takes off after him. I don’t want my partner running through the Projects. As soon as he cut the corner of the building, I didn’t know where he went. I didn’t know if he went across the street in the Projects or where he was going. So I pat my guys down real quick. They don’t have any guns on them. I’m worried about my partner. I don’t know if the guy he’s chasing has a gun. I don’t want my partner to get in a shootout and not have me there.

I didn’t have time to throw the cuffs on these two guys and throw them in the back of the car, so I just pushed off of them and jumped in the car and took off after my partner. So my partner winds up catching him. We throw him in the back of the car and go back over to the parking lot and call for help. We find the guy’s gun laying on the ground. So we’re protecting that. The other cars come pulling up. Here comes the other two idiots walking back through the parking lot. “Hold them!” So we have all three.

We find three separate victims. All of the victims identify all three of the guys. One of the victims tells us, “I think that car is theirs because they were in it.” We [go] over and start searching the car and find another gun. So we’ve got three robberies. We’ve got three males arrested, two guns confiscated.

So we go back to the district . . . We had three separate reports. We had three separate victims. We had to mark and tag the guns and all those things. I’m sitting there and the phone rings in my office. It’s one of my snitches. He says, “One of the guys that you arrested is the guy that killed the guy in Garden Valley.”

So we’re there already in overtime. Six o’clock in the morning comes. The office man from Homicide usually got in at six. About quarter after six, I call Homicide. I get the office man. “Hey, listen, the homicide from last week, the guy with the broomstick shoved up his rear end? We made an arrest last night, some robberies, and one of my snitches called and said one of the guys that got arrested was the guy that did it.”

I told him we had the guns. I’m sitting there, finishing up my reports, marking the guns. I hear, “Cerba!” I said, “I’m back in the office. What do you need?” “Homicide just called. They’re on the way up right now for those guns.” I said, “Okay. I got them back here. I’m finishing up.”

Homicide comes out. They grabbed all three of the males. They grabbed the two guns and took them downtown. They test-fired the guns. One of them turned out to be a positive. They took the guys in the office and started sweating them for which one it was, and broke the guy who did it in about a half an hour.

Here it turned out the killer and the victim were cellmates in prison. The victim got out about two months prior. And the other one got released about a week before. Since they were cellmates in prison, he wanted to get some jail pussy. And when the guy refused, he killed him. And that’s why the broomstick was shoved up the guy’s rear end. It was because he wouldn’t give him a piece of ass.

Joe Rogers

Captain, Fifth District (retired)

At the Lakeview riots, I was with Lieutenant Tad Woodruff, who had too much guts. We’re standing at our car, five of us, watching a couple hundred looters smash the windows of stores and loot them. Lieutenant. Woodruff says, “Let’s get the tear gas and clear out that store.”

So we get the tear gas grenades out of the trunk of the car, march over, and when he said to throw, we threw. The grenades landed, made three little pops with three little puffs, about as big as a puff on a cigarette. The looters were watching and they started laughing. We started laughing, too. Then the lieutenant said, “Let’s go, men. We’ve done our duty.” Well, it turns out those grenades were from World War II.

[Excerpted from Cleveland Cops, © John H. Tidyman. All rights reserved. Gray & Company, Publishers.]

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Table of Contents

Foreword

Introduction

“That’s why I became a cop.”: Joining the Force

“If you want to survive . . .”: The Police Academy

“Good job, huh?”: New On the Beat

“So my partner and I . . .”: Memorable Calls

“The first time I was shot . . .”: Deadly Force

“Next time, call the Fire Department!”: Strange but True

“Can I touch your badge?”: In the Community

“Some stories you never want to talk about.”: Kids in the Crossfire

“I’m trying not to laugh . . .”: Cop Humor

“That’s our job.”: Odds & Ends

Acknowledgments

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