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The Talking Badge is a unique memoir featuring a

collection of true stories, fictionalized as necessary, by a cop who worked the streets for 30 years—twenty as a K-9 and bomb squad officer. Self-described “crazy cop” Mike Garner tells you what it’s like to serve and protect the public.

You will never look at a cop on the street the same way after reading The Talking Badge. Learn why police

officers do what they do and see why even the simplest traffic stop can become a life-or-death moment. Learn through a cop’s eye view why so many police officers are at risk of stress-related illnesses, divorce, alcoholism, and suicide.

Mike spent the last years of his career as a gifted instructor teaching classes about stress management in law enforcement. His desire to help young officers cope with the stress of their careers as well as the critical need to protect their mental health was a prime motivator for writing this book.

Often members of the public have an appreciation for what police officers do for their community daily, but rarely do they realize what it takes to do it.  The subtitle of Mike’s book is so apropos – “Battle Scars of Police Work.”  

Many chapters of this book provoked my own recall of certain events and the many challenges encountered during my 30-year career with the Sacramento Police Department, which was primarily spent as a detective.  I began my career a few years before Mike Garner, and because I took a different career path than he, we were always “passing ships at sea” with our mutually diverse assignments and working hours.  However, Mike’s hard-charging and dedicated commitment to fighting crime and catching bad-guys, while exclusively working the streets, was well known throughout our agency and it put him in a unique class of hard-working officers.           

Through a series of work related and personal stories, Mike’s book does a masterful job of painting a clear picture of how his police assignments molded his viewpoints of society and mankind in general; and collectively how the stress of his numerous sad and dangerous experiences profoundly impacted his personal life.  His articulate depictions of many of these stories provide a raw exposure to a full range of emotions, thoughts, challenges, divine intervention, and the cumulative costs that many cops would typically experience under similar circumstances.  Yet his moral fiber, largely instilled in him by his parents, coupled with his own life experiences, luck, and profound learning moments on the streets with encounters of disadvantaged individuals, ultimately helped him survive his career, while providing a deep and well-balanced outlook on life and police work in general.  

I think this book would serve as a good read for any aspiring police officer, any rookie police officer, or a relative of a police officer.   

 

Rich Overton

Homicide Detective (Ret.)

Sacramento Police Department     

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