Resident Deputy Sheriff
by Weldon C. Travis
Trafford Publishing

"I was your personal cop, your keeper of the peace, your friend, the one you called when you needed someone and didn't have anyone else more appropriate to call..."

Portrayals of sheriffs and deputies on television or the big screen range from comic incompetents like Barney Fife or Buford T. Justice to tough, action-hero types such as Arnold Schwarzenegger's Sheriff Ray Owens in the upcoming film The Last Stand. In reality, though, the officers who pin on these badges and titles rarely resemble either extreme but are instead ordinary men and women who are called to perform the often thankless job of keeping the many safe from the few. The author spent several years as Resident Deputy Sheriff in rural Marin County north of California's Golden Gate Bridge, and the vignettes and memories he shares of his experiences are as eye-opening as they are entertaining.

Despite patrolling an area in the '60s and early '70s that mainly consisted of smaller communities, the problems Travis encountered there were a far cry from the tame issues that Andy and Barney dealt with weekly in TV's Mayberry. Domestic violence, drug abuse, and sexual assault were commonplace, and many of the tales the author tells revolve around these crimes. However, this book was not designed to be a collection of lurid case files, but rather a brief folio of snapshots out of an interesting and often dangerous career.

Travis' writing fluctuates between the poetic polish of his forward to the slightly ribald realism of the majority of his short sketches. Several of the chapters are tributes to fallen friends, and some rage against wrongdoers on both sides of the badge. Yet through it all he blends warmth, humor, and social commentary into an enjoyable memoir.

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