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A series containing stories from the village of first responders with cops, firefighters, EMS, dispatchers, forensics, and victim advocates

In recent years, law enforcement has become entangled in controversial news stories and many people have shifted towards negative views of police officers. However, Donna Brown, the book's award winning author has written the Behind and Beyond the Badge series to provide insight into the altruistic and brave lives of police officers and the community of first responders. Her books contain stories about the often-overlooked side of law enforcement – of the community-serving and family-oriented people who risk their lives each day to protect the public.

Volume III out now

Behind and Beyond the Badge helps drive negative conversations towards a positive outlook on law enforcement. In addition, the book prompts readers to recognize the team-effort behind each community, and the unconventional family these officers become to one another. These books tell fascinating stories of the law enforcement family and provides a fresh outlook compared to other police stories. These books aim to inspire, yielding a positive change to the perception of law enforcement. So, order your copies and meet some of these amazing people!

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Polic Badge Polic Badge



“Someone has said that this job is ninety percent sheer boredom and ten percent sheer terror. Not far from the truth. Stress builds up over time. There is a cumulative effect of continually seeing man’s inhumanity to man; senseless violence, extreme poverty, and things that are just not fair. Much of this job is dealing with people when they are at their worst. They are in pain, they have had loss, and things have not gone as planned.

“I learned over time to try to minimize my exposure to the bad things. If there was someone dead on a scene and I did not need to check them out, I began choosing not to go look. When others would go to the morgue to see the result of terrible things, I chose not to go. I segmented as much of the negatives that I could control away from me. I think that has helped me survive in a job where there is so much negative stress and things to get you down. I have tried to live a balanced life. I don’t even watch horror movies. I think I have seen enough horror for real.”

“We were on a SWAT call-out to serve a high-risk, no-knock search warrant. As we entered the residence I immediately saw a little boy about five years old. We had woken him up with the noise of our entry. He had been sleeping underneath his Christmas tree. As you can imagine, we were all dressed in full gear with helmets and weapons. He looked at us with such innocence and asked if we were Santa. There were no presents under the tree and the house had no electricity. However, the residents were using car batteries for the lights on the Christmas tree. No ornaments were on the tree, just the lights. I stayed with that little boy and tried to explain as best I could we were there to check on his daddy. Sadly, his mother and father were not home, he had been left alone. We were able to locate a relative to come and get him. This was one moment that I will never forget, it changed me.”

I have asked those in this book to talk about what they considered to be a career-defining moment. For some, doing this has been difficult or deeply personal. For me, it was both. I actually have two incidents, one at the beginning of my career and one at the very end. I’ll tell you about the second one a little later.

My first career-defining moment was when I was on patrol while working the midnight shift.

Early in the evening, I received a call of a vehicle-versus-pedestrian traffic accident, a hit and run. When I arrived, I found the pedestrian lying in the roadway next to the curb. Several bystanders stood on the sidewalk, and no one was helping him.

As I knelt down next to him, I could see that he was badly injured. What appeared to be brain matter was seeping from his ears, but he was still alive.

The bystanders immediately began yelling at me to help this man.

I went to my patrol car and retrieved a blanket and gently covered him. The bystanders continued to yell at me, questioning why I wasn’t doing anything to help him.

While waiting for the ambulance and other officers to arrive, I held his hand and tried to comfort him. He died before the ambulance could get there.

I became numb, and my self-preservation wall went up. And so began a career of bottled-up emotions.

When they arrived at the hospital, she recalled seeing a sea of police cars lined up and what looked like a five-mile stretch of Oakland police officers standing on both sides of the cars.

As they pulled up in front of the emergency room entrance, she saw a friend of Ervin’s. He had also been the best man at their wedding. He stood with his head bent down. He then walked over to the car, opened the door, and grabbed her hand to help her out. Nicole asked him what had happened.

All he could say was, “He didn’t make it. He died.”

Her son was still in the backseat of the patrol car, trying to get out. “I could instantly see the color drain from this young man’s face.

“On the ride to the hospital, I kept thinking that he was just injured, but when we arrived, seeing all of those officers, I knew it was serious.

“We walked into the hospital, and there were doctors and nurses and people just running around everywhere. Five of our Oakland officers and five families were in the emergency room.

One of the officers was wounded, but the other four laid under white sheets. My officer, my husband, my in-law’s son, my stepchildren’s father, my children’s stepfather, a brother, an uncle, an Oakland Police Department sergeant laid under a white sheet. He was everything to us.

Nicole said they told her she didn’t want to see him. The suspect had shot Ervin in the face.

“I just stood there and stared at the sheet that covered my husband; I never pulled it back. He was a handsome, beautiful man, and that’s what I was going to remember, not the traumatic memory of what had happened to him, to his body, to his life.”

As with everyone in this book, I asked Mike if there was a career-defining moment for him.

He said, “I recall a specific incident early in my career. While on patrol, I drove into what was considered a highcrime, high-drug area of town. I saw a large man holding down a much smaller person on the ground. My immediate thought was that this smaller person was a child.

“Other citizens stood nearby and watched as this man, at least six-foot-five and three hundred pounds, attempted to repeatedly stab this child with a very large butcher knife. “I slammed on my brakes, notified dispatch of where I was, what I observed, and I requested a backup officer. “I got out of my marked patrol car, drew my firearm, and ordered the large man to stop. He didn’t: he merely looked back at me and dismissed my presence and my command.

“The emotions that flowed were so varied: surprise, outrage, a little panic, and fear, yes fear, the first fear I had felt in my career but not the last because we do feel fear.

“Contrary to my training and prior to the availability of tools such as Tasers, I stepped forward and kicked the man very solidly in the butt and stepped away. As he turned toward me, I again ordered him to stop, lie down on the ground, and not move. He complied.

“When my backup arrived, the man was arrested. What I soon discovered was that the very large man was in fact a sixteen-year-old juvenile, and the smaller ‘child’ was an eighteen-year-old young man. Things are certainly not always what they appear to be.

“When I went to holster my weapon, I had to uncock the hammer to snap the retention strap. I had started to fire my weapon and stopped. I didn’t realize how close I had come to shooting this large ‘man.’”

What they say about
Behind and Beyond the Badge

  • In Volume Two of her award-winning BEHIND AND BEYOND THE BADGE series, Donna Brown once again takes us behind the scenes into the lives of first responders and their families. The no-nonsense approach of her writing lets the individuals’ stories speak for themselves and they leave indelible impressions on the reader’s mind. Brown’s book covers a wide range of experiences: the day-to-day operations of a sheriff’s department aviation unit, the intensity of dispatch operations, gut-wrenching experiences in highway patrol and a mother’s grief at the loss of her police sergeant son are just a few of the stories she includes. This book should be required reading for law enforcement academies and criminology departments, and I recommend it to anyone who wants to understand what the “thin blue line” really means. A. E. HOWE
    Author of the Amazon Best-selling Larry Macklin Mysteries Series

  • Retired Homicide Sergeant Donna Brown is a master storyteller. Her book is a captivating read about first responders who share their personal thoughts about working in high-stress positions. If you want to really understand what it’s like to do their jobs, know someone who is thinking about a career as a first responder or a family member of a first responder, then this book is a must read. FLOY TURNER
    Retired Special Agent (FDLE).
    Best-Selling Author

  • Brown offers a riveting probe into the inner trials and tribulations that many members of the law enforcement community endure during the course of their public service careers. The author applies her honed investigative skills to put the human dimension on full display. She artfully draws back the curtains that shroud the inner sanctuary of the police world and then escorts the reader into that inner circle. In one sense, this book is the law enforcement version of Dante’s Inferno. Some travelers emerge relatively unscathed; others grapple mightily with their inner turmoil. Eventually, they forge ahead and gain passage to an entirely new path in their journey through life DR. BILL DOERNER
    Professor (Retired) College of Criminology & Criminal Justice
    Florida State University Author of Victimology and Introduction to Law Enforcement: An Insider’s View

  • BEHIND AND BEYOND THE BADGE is a marvelous collection of stories coming straight from the law enforcement and first-responder communities. The stories provide details and highlights of hard-earned careers to include tragic officer deaths, violent crimes, and the bitter worst of humanity. But through it all, the duty of service persevered, and they survived to make it to the next stage in life, what new author Donna Brown calls ‘Phase 2.’ Brown, a retired police officer with an incredible resume in her own right, believes that making it to retirement to enjoy life in the next phase is what each and every law enforcement officer should strive for. She sums it up with a great quote, You spent many years giving OF yourself; it is time to give TO yourself. For the past, present, and future law enforcement officers and first responders, this is a must read. WILLIAM MARK
    Award-winning author of Crossing the Blue Line and From Behind the Blue Line

  • As a retired law enforcement officer it made me proud to read this book. I know how special the folks were that I worked with for so many years, but to read about the people contained within these pages is just inspirational. This book is for everyone, First Responder or not. It is a fast read with a huge 'wow' factor at the end of each story. Sgt. Trish England
    Florida Highway Patrol, Retired

  • Behind and Beyond the Badge is a fast and most interesting read, especially for someone not directly in the field of law enforcement, but someone who works with college students of various ages and backgrounds who aspire to become sworn law enforcement officers. It really struck home with me. Donna Brown presents men and women who have committed themselves to careers "in the trenches" as first responders and clearly shows some of the good, the bad and the ugly of the profession and the important work they do every day. It is an important book and I hope to have each of my seniors read it as they graduate and embark upon their careers in law enforcement. "Behind and Beyond the Badge" has a strong message for men and women who aspire to be first responders and it should be required reading in every Criminal Justice program.David Persky, Ph.D., J.D.
    Professor of Criminal Justice
    Saint Leo University

  • I continue to stress to the first responder profession that one of the best ways to change the mental health culture in the profession is through sharing our experiences. It is a great way to destroy the mental health stigma. The award winning author, Donna Brown, has done just that with her 3rd book - Behind and Beyond the Badge Volume III. Yes, my story is in it but more importantly, there are many other stories included and collectively we present a unified front to change the mental health culture in the first responder profession. I appreciate you Donna Brown - I love your heart!!!!! Help us fight the stigma and pick up a copy and leave an Amazon review! Detective Dan Brite
  • As a civilian employee new to working with First Responders, I used this to help me dive deeper into the culture of law enforcement. I learned so much about not only a career in this field, but also saw a glimpse of the person behind the job. Highly recommend. ForensicFan, Verified Amazon Purchase
  • I loved this book and read it in one sitting! After each chapter, which chronicles a dedicated servant with a candid glimpse into their career, I had to know and read about another officer in the very next chapter. The book also (appreciatively) chronicles the lives of those whom help law enforcement, like; dispatchers, medical professionals, firefighters and the widow of a fallen officer. This book is certainly well suited for those who support LE, but more importantly it is perfect for those who want to read the truth about a profession, that as of late, has been unfairly maligned, as this book does a marvelous job telling stories about those who represent the majority of the police profession- dedicated professionals who risk their very lives to protect and serve.
  • What immediately stands out when reading Donna Brown’s “Behind & Beyond the Badge - Volume 2” is the inspiring display of the human side of Law Enforcement. Through a series of interviews with long time Florida area Cops, Donna tells their stories in a way that goes well beyond the standard career highlights, focusing on their lives outside of law enforcement, including the importance of family, health, & wellbeing. These are the stories that often go untold, typically left on a cutting room floor filled with the positive deeds our Cops do each day while sacrificing themselves for their respective communities. Donna also includes a section she refers to as The Village of First Responders, where the stories of Fire, EMS, & Dispatch bring even more depth to the lives of those who continue to dedicate their lives to public safety. I couldn’t recommend this book enough. Great Job Donna! Nicole


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