“Signal 50/48”: Killing Atlanta's Finest!
by Harold B. Goldhagen
FolioAvenue Publishing Services

"This book was written as a memorial to the twenty-eight featured on these pages . . . They must never be forgotten!"

A perpetrator gets caught in a criminal act. A law enforcement officer gets ready to make an arrest. The criminal panics and draws a weapon he or she carries illegally. The gun goes off and destroys at least two lives, and usually many more. All any survivors can do is radio to headquarters the phrase that strikes dread into the heart of any police officer: “'Signal 50/48!' (Person shot/person dead!)." Wives or husbands are widowed. Children are left without parents. Most who kill police receive heavy sentences . . . if they survive arrest. Some of them want to commit suicide by cop and take the cop with them. Whatever leads to death in the line of duty, all that remains after the funeral is a plaque on the wall of police headquarters honoring the final effort to protect and serve.

In this book, Goldhagen, a retired captain with Atlanta’s police force, honors 28 deceased Atlanta Police Department officers who died between 1960 and 2005. He details the circumstances of their murders and renders police code readily understandable to the layperson. Although a novelist, Goldhagen turns once again to nonfiction to write about life on the force with a haunting intensity that comes from combined studious research, excellent powers of description, and personal experience. The text is by turns informative, tender, and resentful in tone as it recounts the last words, feelings, and actions of the slain officers and the survivors' collective sense of loss and injustice. At the end of each chapter is a photograph of the actual plaque dedicated to the fallen officer whose story a particular chapter tells. An epilogue describes the intricacies of a police funeral.

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