Oh, I will set up our old Nativity Scene, got to have something.
I've just finished my last work-up on "Rookie" as the publisher wanted some changes made. Rookie is about my working for my first police department in the City of Dillingham. We were the hub city for 13 villages, and we officers usually referred to it as Dodge City. I never again made so many arrests as I did in that town. We actually busted bootleggers and destroyed stills. Numerous people died as a result of a poison still. Worked a fishing strike there that turned really dangerous, but I must say I learned a lot there in the year I worked there.
I've changed the names of all the characters, but over 90% of the cases are based on the real events. I never again would handle so many bar brawls as I did there, usually two to three a week. My first felony case was a gang rape/murder/arson case and I conducted the investigation with the Chief helping out. Good thing I had almost 6 years of Air Force Security Police behind me and my tours in Thailand and Vietnam also helped. Dillingham was the only town where I started carrying my shotgun into the bars. So many people carrying concealed filt knives and handguns getting drunk. Lots of stabbings and a few or more shootings. Domestic problems occured on almost every shift.
There was 4 officers and our Chief, who behaved most times during a nasty response like a cocky little rooster, but his karate skills really helped. He is the one who nicknamed me "Godzuki", son of Godzilla. One time I was forced to take on a guy who was 4 inches taller than I and outweighed me by a good 40 lbs. Chief called the event Godzuki versus the Titan. It was close, but I was finally able to get behind him and subdued him with a choke hold and put him to sleep. Turns out he was allergic to alcohol and his buddies spiked his rootbeer. When he sobered up he nearly killed the bunch and we had to put him in a cell all by himself. This was the same event that led to an attempted jail break by their trawler crew, about 40 of them and ended with the arrest of two Tong assassins wanted in the lower 48 for two murders. Next day we were visited by the feds, who took custody of them. These Tongs were supposed to be in hiding on the trawler, but they thought so little of us that while intoxicated they opted to lead the attempted jailbreak. That was one busy week and eventually led into our fish strike and a long week of burning boats, houses and cars and the back window of my patrol vehicle blown out by a shotgun blast as I drove past a large crowd of strikers. I was not amused. As I said the story is based on over 90% of my actual cases and never again did I work so hard in my other departments. Wild town. I went back there 14 years laters later and the town had settled down quite a bit and had a larger department. Some of the people still remembered me and later, our son John would come to work there as a police officer. He's now a federal officer, as our son, Joshua, is to.
"Stronghold", which is with the publisher, is a story based on my time with the Skagway Police Department. This occurred several months after Dillingham and here I found myself in a battle against an actual witches convent. Yah, that's right, this group originally came up from Seattle with the Gold Rush in 1898. They had continued to exist and their membership was one big secret. I was able to identify half of them before I left to work for the Seward Police. Most of them were my age. Oh, I might add I preferred working in small towns. But seriously, I had to rely on the Lord's help when I started investigating this group. The actual investigation began when the U.S. Forest Service called me in to investigate the desecration of three graves in one of the two historic graveyards in town. They were using the human bones to build their alters and sacrificing small animals. Few churches in that town, even the Catholic Church left town. A lot of violent history and came with a couple resident ghosts. For awhile there was only two of us, the acting police chief and myself. A lot of very strange cases and I was a brand new Christian, which is probably why I was sent there. For I was hired over the phone and never even applied. Believe it or not, the city museum was located on the 2nd floor of the city office building and where the police station was- with one large cell and a small office area. On my first night there...oh, I had to live in the jail for two weeks and it was not my favorite place. I learned 12 people had committed suicide in that same cell and I reviewed the actual police reports. We had no computer and no dispatchers, a real Andy and Barney routine. We were supposed to have three officers and a chief, but two men had suddenly resigned. Anyway, my first night there I kept hearing this heavy footing walked across the my ceiling. The museum was closed for the winter and I had never been inside. I learned that next morning there was a tall grizzly bear mount upstairs and it was haunted, liked to move around the floor a lot. Chief took me up to see and it was one big bear mounted standing up on a fake rock mount. Oddest thing, the mount was chained to the floor and wall with three inch links. Chief told me of how the bear would often go for walks, so they chained him up and it still didn't stop it. One jailer got so frightened, he abandoned his prisoner, took off and boarded the ferry which was about to leave for Juneau. When the Chief arrived for work, he found the prisoner pretty rattled. Chief had been there for 7 years, was a 32nd Degree Mason and new about all the haunts and spooks. He also owned the largest and meanest Rottweiler I ever came across. When the Chief learned he had hired a Christian, he was not happy. But then he got sick and had to go to Seattle for surgery and a long recovery.
This left the senior man as acting chief and me as the only officer. Skagway was quite the experience, but I have to say my whole police career was like that. People came from all over the world to visit Skagway's spooks, staying in a special hotel room that no matter what the temp was in the hotel or even outside in the summer, the room was freezing and the room's spook was always throwing furniture out of it third floor window. Story was she was a murdered prostitute known as Big Red. I even had a room chair coming hurling out of the third story window to shatter on my hood as I was driving by one night. The rest is in my book.
From Skagway, I went to Seward Police. Another place I hadn't applied for and was hired over the phone. I arrived in the middle of a Longshoreman's Strike. Police don't get hired over the phone and this was the second time. After Seward I was hired by the City of Whittier, a small coastal town that the Alaska Railroad owned the majority of the town. Whittier was originally built as a staging military base for the invasion of the Aleutians in World War II. Once again I was called up an invited to Whittier to be interviewed for the Public Safety Director. Oddly enough I again never applied and was actually one week away from entering college in Anchorage. The interview was short, I was hired and I had two officers. I was in charge of the police department, the EMS squad, Fire Department and Search and Rescue Team. We were responsible for the western half of Prince William Sound. I was granted an Alaska State Trooper Special Officer Commission so I could handle events outside the city limits. I had the greatest group of volunteers, but unfortunately Whittier didn't use dispatchers either.
When I took the job Whittier average 300 total calls per year, a nice quiet little town. But then the Exxon Valdez went on the rocks and caused the worst oil disaster in Alaska's history, maybe the whole west coast. Oddly enough, that same day my City Manager went in for Open Heart Surgery and would be gone for the next 6 months. So, I was also made Emergency Operation Manager for the city and liaison to Exxon and VECO companies. We were about to get 7 trains a day. Yes, back then the only way into town was by boat or train. You loaded your cars onto flat cars and rode into town. With the new job and the whole emergency bit I was way in over my head and called in a lot of favors from people I have known. We went from 300 calls a year to over 3,000 and I lost most of my volunteers to the Exxon and VECO jobs- all high paying. I hired two new officers, one I would end up firing and terminating one of my original officers. I never before or sense there seen so much money be paid out to the PRince William Sound Communities. I and my officers would meet each of the 7 trains and occasionally put a problem child right back on the train, people I didn't need in our town. We got the wackos, the strange, the professional laters and flim-flam artists. Not sure what I'll entitle that story yet or when I will write it. But I did learn that the Lord was guiding my path.
A couple years later I was hired by the State of Alaska Gaming Board as a sole investigator for the entire state. I handled the legal gaming which took in about $250 million and went after the illegal gambling, working with various departments around the state. The best part of the job was getting to see all of Alaska. Except Prudoe Bay, never got up there. Worked just over 750 investigations for the state, went to some great schools and then retired in 1994 and took a chance at writing. Even here I find that the Lord is guiding me in what I write about.
So, a little history for you.
This will be my last journal before Christmas. So, I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and hopefully you will have some loved ones or good friends to celebrate with. Bless you all, BILL