© 2014 Chuck Klein

 “Chief? What can I do to help? I’m available day or night.”
 “Do you own a handgun?”
 “Yes sir.”
 “Wear it, along with dark pants and a blue shirt and be in my office seven o’clock tonight.” Cool!
 Wow! This is going to be way cool. Here I was a junior executive with our family owned paper-converting business and not too many years removed from my last encounter as a hot-rodding chasee. Now, I was about to become the chaser. Living in Amberley Village, Ohio, a small bedroom community contiguous to Cincinnati, I had phoned the police chief to volunteer my time.
 It was 1968 and cities all across the country were under siege from riots, looting and burning. No one knew what direction the rioters would take – stick to destroying their own neighborhoods or branch out to the mostly white suburbs. Amberley, under a hastily formed county wide mutual-aid agreement, had already sent two of their officers to augment the city where the crux of the rioting had been taking place.
 These were heady times; America was under-going tumultuous introspection. The baby-boomer generation was coming of age and were distancing themselves from their parents’ world of dress codes, verboten drugs, politics-as-usual and behind-closed-door sex. In addition, the black population of this peer group was impatient with civil rights won in court battles and thus prepped themselves for violent uprisings. Police “riot” tactics consisted of billy-clubs, chemical Mace, tear gas, fire hoses, 12 gauge pump shotguns and 6-shot revolvers. SWAT teams had only been recently formed in the larger cities and counties.
 Before leaving my suburban, comfortable and secure home, I made my wife strap on a holster and gun, telling her not to open the door to anyone. And if someone breaks in – shoot him. Don’t talk to him. Don’t warn him. Just empty the gun into him, reload and try (lines might be jammed) to call the police.
 Arriving at the station in my black wool trousers, blue button-down, oxford cloth shirt and a snub-nose .38 in a hip holster, I was shown to the Chief’s office. With a glance up to me, Chief Krueger (William J. 1909 – 1998) reached into his desk, produced a badge, and with the command ‘pin it on,’ said, “You’re now a deputy police officer. Tell the rest of the men to assemble in the squad Circa 1957 front
2ndroom.”  Heavy! (Police chiefs could appoint deputies with full arrest powers as this was prior to state certification requirements).
 Now that all policemen were crowded in the office, the Chief told what he had learned from earlier meetings with other area police commanders. Rumors of mass black invasions of white communities were rampant, but no one was sure which way things might go. Krueger sent us out to patrol the five-square mile village with these words: "I don't want any of my men hurt - if any of those rioters so much as touches anyone of you - kill him." Heavy, my kitty! I rode with a sergeant until about midnight and again the next night. This was stirring and somewhere in the back of my mind a light began to glow. 
 Krueger encouraged me to pursue a career in LE and, knowing of my life-long interest in guns/shooting, helped by sending me to one of the first NRA Police Firearms Instructor schools. The self-defense philosophy then taught was bulls-eye/sight-picture shooting, both double and single action. It didn’t seem best to me and I began working on the concept of Instinct Combat Shooting with a handgun (close-quarter shooting without using sights). These experiments together with a new found ability to write resulted in my first paid article in Law & Order Magazine. This led to my book on the subject that is now in its 3rd edition and has been in continuous print for over 25 years.
 Despite the fact that the family business was busy and I was making good money, I was disillusioned with the direction of certain aspects of our country. I didn't see myself as a placard carrying protester or slogging through the jungles of Nam. Police work seemed like a way I could make my contribution to society. Though there were about 150 applicants per opening, even at the smaller departments, I began applying to area police agencies. Amberley didn’t have any openings, but Krueger wrote a letter of recommendation. He also gave me a significant hint as to what police work is all about. He reiterated what one of his officers said that cemented his hiring. This, then candidate, told the chief he liked being in a position of being able to help people. I realized I felt the same way and is the reason I became a police officer and later a volunteer fire fighter and a member of Kiwanis International.
 My biggest worry in applying to police agencies was my juvenile record. During the late 1950s, between the ages of 15 and 18, I had been involved in a number of  .  .  .  ah, not to bright endeavors – such as moving traffic violations and “disagreements” with my father. Some of these activities resulted in trips to Juvenile Detention. On one such occasion, I was handcuffed and hauled to the Amberley station where, after cooling my heels for a short while, then Captain Krueger, without saying a word, approached me. He did away with the cuffs, walked to the door, opened it, drew his service revolver, snapped it open to make sure it was loaded and finally said, “We don’t have to take you to Juvenile. Go ahead; you can walk out that door. ButTHE
BADGE you better run fast, because I’m going to shoot you in the back if you do.” I suddenly found fascination in the floor tiles. This was big time and I was just a punk. The Captain then said to the Sergeant, “Take him to Juvenile and if he tries to run, shoot him.” Whoa!
 A night in the cooler and my heels were frigid. I was beaten and ready to kowtow to authority – at least until I got my bravado back. In court the next day, and with my parents and Captain Krueger present, I knew by the look in the Captain’s eyes, remorse for my recent behavior was necessary. Judge Benjamin Schwartz accepted my apology and in no uncertain words, told me he never wanted to see me in his court room again.
 This kind of ‘anti-social’ behavior might have deterred others from pursuing a career in law enforcement. However, for me, I was lucky to have Bill Krueger as my captain/chief/friend. He was the type of man who could look beyond juvenile pranks and difficult father/son relations. He also had a unique perspective about life experiences. On a later visit to his office, he told me of a candidate for one of the department’s openings who had an exemplary high school record. Not only did this young police officer hopeful excel in class, but he had never been in a fistfight or had even been sent to the principal’s office for any sort of transgression. The Chief didn’t hire him citing the reason that such a person might not be able to deal with, and empathize with persons he would have to confront as a police officer. My resume didn’t lack for such experiences.
 Soon enough, I found full time employment with the police department of the Village of Woodlawn, Ohio. Here, when I learned that once per month each officer was required to qualify on the firing range, I experienced the revelation: “you mean they pay me to do this AND supply the ammunition.” Issue sidearms were state-of-the-art Smith & Wesson, Model 19 revolvers in .357 Magnum. Our duty belt included a handcuff case, Mace spray, dees (snap straps) for keys and a whistle, a ring for the nightstick and ammo drop-pouches.
 Located on two state and one federal highway, Woodlawn yielded exciting work resulting in the opportunities to make felony arrests for crimes ranging from gun dealing to rape to armed robbery to murder. Part of the excitement was high-speed chases in police-packaged Dodge or Plymouth cars – with bias belted (usually bald) tires and engines that missed and sputtered due to long idling periods and slow patrol of the community. The marked cruisers sported a light bar atop the roof with twin rotating red lights and speaker/siren. Spotlights were on both A pillars and the trunk contained the Winchester Model 97, 12 Ga., pump, riot gun.
 We were dispatched by the county as were 34 other villages and cities – all of us on one channel and without portable (personal) radios. On weekends, radio communications were, for all intents and purposes, limited to clearing details and emergencies. Each community was assigned a set of 3-digit car numbers of which one was the beat car and one was for the chief. For example, Woodlawn’s car numbers were four-six-six (chief) and 4-6-8 being the beat car. Our authorized strength was 12, but seldom did we have that many. We worked six -8 hour days on and two off, rotating the four shifts monthly: Day, 2nd, 3rd and skipper. Skipper shift meant you worked the two off days of another officer, i.e., changed shifts every two days.
 The community was split about half and half residential to industry/business. The civilian population, due to ‘white flight,’ was in transition from about 90% white to, eventually 90% black. The nine-man department had two black officers and was trying to hire more. I believe my hiring was cemented during an interview with the newly elected black mayor when he asked if I was prejudiced and how would I react to black people? I replied, “I’m Jewish and I know full well what discrimination is and I have no desire to participate in any such unfairness.”
 This period of nation-wide racial tension gave impetus to the rise of the Black Panthers – angry, violent, black men who vowed to kill LEOs (black or white) - and did. Was it hairy? Worrisome? Risky? All of the above? You bet – especially when working as the only officer on duty. Approaching a car full of black men for a traffic violation on a dark highway or in the closed-for-the-night industrial parks was always cause to unsnap my Jordan holster. However, I never encountered any of these cop-killers. Oh, I dealt with and arrested my share of felons, and though I was the recipient of a few death threats, I never had to fire my revolver in the line of duty. Maybe I was just lucky or maybe it was in how I treated everyone.
 Within a few years on the job at Woodlawn, I was told by Sgt. Pete Rogers that he, the WPD chief and others were part of a theft ring and if I didn't play along they would shoot me in the knees. This all happened while I was working my first 3rd with Rogers. During these late night shifts I witnessed him steal money and items using his collection of keys to local businesses. Knowing I couldn't go to my chief, I visited Krueger - a man I knew I could trust. He made notes of our conversation and set up a meeting with the FBI. They told me to keep a record of the sergeant's transgressions and report back weekly. After the criminal officer’s girl friend turned him in, my reports were part of the evidence used to help convince him to plead guilty. Former Sergeant Rogers went to prison. The WPD chief knew that I knew he was involved. Then, based upon a letter from the Lieutenant, which said in part, “Klein would be better off with his own kind of people,” I was terminated. To say the Lt. was a bigot and made life for me difficult, would be a gross understatement. Though the chief showed me the letter, he refused to allow me to copy it and when my attorney asked, he denied its existence. Note: villages, at this time, did not have civil service protection.
 I was broken-hearted, but felt I needed to clear my name and thus applied to other police agencies. The Village of Terrace Park, Ohio had an opening in their 5-man department. I visited their Chief who told me if I passed the Cincinnati Police polygraph test, the job was mine. I passed as I had done nothing wrong at Woodlawn and didn’t have any deep dark secrets. (See Side Bar)
 Police action is dangerous, interesting and sometimes even funny – but never boring. Terrace Park, a small bedroom community on the Little Miami River, also surrounds a portion of U.S. 50; aka Wooster Pike, aka Bloody Wooster. This heavily traveled 4-lane highway was used by many criminals including a chapter of one of the biker gangs who had a club house just outside Terrace Park’s corporation line.
 On a warm night around 3:00 a.m., I spotted a motorcycle gang member parked at a closed-for-the-night gas station. I radioed for backup and pulled in to investigate. The biker, wearing his colors, said he was out of gas and was waiting for a friend to bring a can. Maybe. Or he was casing the place; or he was there to meet for a drug transaction or . . . . I had him patted down by the time my backup, a Milford officer, arrived. Together, we ascertained the biker was the owner of the motorcycle, but he stuck to his story of being out of gas and a buddy was coming. How he contacted his pal was the hole in his story as the only pay phone was inside the locked gas station. It was then that I surreptitiously removed from my cruiser, a small bag (baggie) partially filled with pipe tobacco. I concealed the bag in the palm of my hand, walked over to the parked MC saying, “What have we here,” as I reached under the seat of the bike.
 Pulling my hand back revealed the bag. The gang member immediately said, “Ah, man you didn’t find that on my bike.” To which I asked, “Sergeant, did you not witness me finding this bag, of what appears to be an illegal substance, from under the seat of this motorcycle?” I then turned to the biker saying, “Is there any question in your mind that this bag will test positive for marijuana if we send it to the lab?” The biker looked at his boots, as I continued, “You can ride out of here now, but if you ever stop in Terrace Park again, we’ll have a warrant for you.” He fired up his out-of-gas hog and throttled away. The Sergeant and I went for coffee and a good laugh. 
 Though my reputation was clear, I wasn't making enough money to support my growing family and I resigned before completing a full year.
 I then began a search for an old-time, small community to raise my family. I found a 144 acre farm in Switzerland County, Indiana. Here, my sons enjoyed shooting, hunting, riding motorcycles and I began new careers as a Private Detective and writer. I also spent seven years in the 80s as one of Sheriff J. D. Leap's reserve officers and ten years as a state trained volunteer firefighter for Patriot.
 Oh yeah, about that incident in Judge Benjamin Schwartz’s court? As fate would have it, I did end up in the same court room again. After the proceedings were over it was obvious the Judge had forgotten his threat. I approached the bench, hat in hand, and said, “Excuse me your Honor, but the last time I was here you told me you never wanted to see me in your court room again.” The Judge broke out into a huge grin, climbed down from behind the bench and shook my hand. It was 13 years later and I was the arresting officer of a young juvenile offender. 

Side Bar:
 Polygraphs record reactions to questions via changes of your heart beat, blood pressure and perspiration. These squiggly lines on graph paper are observed and interpreted by the polygraph officer. That’s the rub – the machine operator’s subjective decision as to whether you’re telling the truth. Though accepted in civil trials, they are not admissible in criminal trials (except under unique and special conditions). However, for employment, this test is very valuable.
 The exam consists of yes or no questions all of which are known to the person taking the test. During this pre-exam portion the questioner tells you he is only interested in events of the past five years. Each question of interest is preceded by a question for which the examiner already knows the answer. For example:
1) Is your name __________? (The examiner has your application in front of him.)
2) Other than what we have already talked about, have you ever stolen anything? (You’ve already admitted to all transgressions that have occurred over the past five years, but your mind is recalling a theft of over five years ago.)
3) Do you live at ____________?
 Everyone has stolen something, if even just a pen from the bank. Of course if you have stolen something 10 years ago, the examiner will say, the machines indicate you are not being truthful (He’s going to say that anyway – just to see your reaction). Now, you are compelled to admit to padding your employer’s expense account or cheating on your income tax way back when. You can see there this leads when questions delve into personal matters - including your sexual activities. 
 Polygraph exams are not about what the truth is – only about what you believe the truth to be. If you believe taking a bank pen is a crime, then that’s the truth. It’s also about convincing you to fess-up to any and all misdeeds.
 Pathological liars are the only ones who can “beat” the test as they believe their own lies. Oh yeah, the examiner will lie to you about such things as being interested only in the recent past. It’s a trick to get you relaxed so you feel secure that they won’t find out about the murder/rape or whatever you committed long ago.

Chuck Klein, a former LEO and retired private investigator, is author of many columns, articles and books, including: INSTINCT COMBATING SHOOTING, Defensive Handgunning for Police; THE BADGE, Stories and Tales From Both Sides of the Law and LINES OF DEFENSE, Police Ideology and the Constitution. He may be reached through his web site: