Friday, May 7, 2010

Stacy Dittrich's "Stumbling Along the Beat"

Stacy Dittrich is an award-winning law enforcement officer and former detective specializing in sex crimes. A certified law enforcement instructor, she is also a media consultant in the area of law enforcement. Her books include the CeeCee Gallagher thriller series and the true crime thriller, Murder Behind the Badge: True Stories of Cops Who Kill.

Dittrich applied the “Page 99 Test” to her recently released memoir, Stumbling Along the Beat: A Policewoman's Uncensored Story from the World of Law Enforcement, and reported the following:
Interestingly enough, page 99 of Stumbling Along the Beat actually set the stage for things to come. This particular case involving “Edward” became embedded in my brain forever. It was the case that actually set the stage for my exit as a full time law enforcement officer. The story of Edward and his dolls became the inspiration and the beginning of my new career as a writer. My first novel, The Devil’s Closet, follows protagonist—female detective CeeCee Gallagher, as she hunts a serial child killer who has a disturbing affliction for life-sized dolls. I thought it was extremely important to feature Edward’s case in Stumbling Along the Beat as it leads the reader towards an understanding of why I chose to take a different career path in the end.

Page 99:
“Can we go upstairs?”

“I…I suppose.” By now, he was sweating profusely.

Basically, we needed to stall as long as possible, to give the department time to get the warrant completed and signed. Jim had already called the detective writing the warrant to get him to add the information on the photo album.

Searches are tricky. Yes, Edward had given us consent to search certain areas, and we’d found more than enough for probable cause, but only in the general area in which the contraband was found—not in the bedroom. We clearly had enough to arrest Edward for child pornography, but a search warrant would make the evidence and arrest airtight. And it would give us free rein to search the rest of the house, including the bedroom. Luckily for us, it was the middle of the day, so the judge was in his chambers, ready to review and sign the warrant.

When I got upstairs, I found more startling photos. This wasn’t mail-order kiddie porn. By the upstairs window, lying next to a camera, were photographs of little girls playing in sprinklers wearing bathing suits, little girls playing hopscotch and riding their bikes on the sidewalk. In the corner of each photograph was the distinct image of a window frame.

I looked out the window and back at the photographs, realizing that Edward stood at that particular window taking photographs of little girls in the neighborhood. As a mother, the thought horrified me. Little did the parents in that neighborhood know that their daughters were being photographed for a grown man’s sexual gratification.
Browse inside Stumbling Along the Beat, and learn more about the book and author at Stacy Dittrich's website.

--Marshal Zeringue