Friday, October 18, 2013

Catching Burglars: Ex-Cop-turned-Author Writes From Her Passion

By Kathy Bennett
[Editor's Note: Author Kathy Bennett writes from her own police experience. She served 29 years with Los Angeles Police Department. And if that was not enough experience, she married a cop. Find out more about Kathy at her own web site here]

Everyone who has a job knows that there are some aspects to the job that you like better than others. If you’re a baker maybe you don’t like baking the cake but you enjoy applying the icing. Perhaps you work as an auto mechanic. You aren’t fond of replacing brakes, but tearing apart a car's engine and putting back together again provides you a great sense of accomplishment.

Police officers are no different. Some officers love to write tickets. Others like working with the community to solve ongoing problems. For some officers, spotting people driving stolen cars or detaining suspects holding narcotics gets their hearts racing.

The suspects I liked to target were burglars. It didn’t matter if they were burglars who invaded a person’s home or if the suspects broke into cars. For me, the attraction was the fact they worked 24/7. Even more incentive was that burglars are hard to catch. What can I say? I like a challenge.

One of the more memorable arrests I made I was working with another female officer whose name also happened to be Kathy. She was my favorite partner ever. We’d just started working together and were assigned to the ‘morning watch,’ which many other departments and professions call the graveyard shift. Most officers working the morning watch enjoyed patrolling in the dead of night and the ones who worked it year after year were a tight-knit group. We were newcomers, and had to prove ourselves.

There was an industrial complex where businesses were getting hit several times a week, and had been for months. Kathy and I decided our first shift together that at some point we’d go over to the industrial complex and park in the shadows and see if anything developed.

I was driving our black and white patrol car, and we slowly cruised past the many closed businesses in search of a good ‘hiding spot.’ We passed by a building that had a chain-link fence enclosure attached. The fencing had privacy slats, but that didn’t prevent Kathy and me from spotting a guy prowling around.

After detaining him, we determined there was a business in the complex that had been burglarized, and that the suspect was in possession of two large key rings containing about a hundred of regular door keys along with dozens of vending machine keys. The suspect was a transient and had no explanation for the many keys he had with him. Along with the keys, we had evidence from the business that had been burglarized to book him, so we hauled him to jail. That was the first of a number of good arrests we made on morning watch. During our first month we were readily accepted into the fold and were well respected by our co-workers. Kathy and I worked morning watch together for the better part of seven years.

Another time, there was an area where the division had a high incidence of burglaries of items from motor vehicles.  Somewhere around three o’clock one morning, Kathy and I were driving through the 'hot' area with our lights off and, lo and behold, we saw a car parked in the middle of a dark street. We nabbed three young men who all went to a religious school together. They were in the process of breaking into a car, and once we’d taken them into custody, we got them to show us the fourteen other cars they’d broken into. The boys were arrested and booked. Needless to say, when we called the kids' parents to come pick up their felon sons, the parents weren’t happy at all.

In my latest book, A Deadly Justice, my personal itch for capturing burglars led me to create a team of
sophisticated burglars as adversaries for my main character, LAPD Detective Maddie Divine to uncover. But in order to keep my story authentic, Maddie and her partner, Jade, get involved with other investigations as well…just like it happens in real life. What Maddie doesn’t know is that investigating the burglars may reveal a secret in her own life she’s tried desperately to bury.
Kathy Bennett is no stranger to murder and mayhem. She served twenty-nine years with the Los Angeles Police Department - eight as a civilian employee and twenty-one years as a sworn police officer. While most of her career was spent in a patrol car, she’s also been a Firearms Instructor at the LAPD Academy, a crime analyst in the “War Room”, a Field Training Officer, a Senior Lead Officer, and worked undercover in various assignments. Kathy was honored to be named Officer of the Year in 1997.

Kathy's debut novel, A Dozen Deadly Roses, and her second book, A Deadly Blessing became bestselling ebooks at Amazon and Barnes and Noble. A Deadly Blessing, is the first book in a series featuring LAPD Detective Maddie Divine and was named a Best Nook Book Original for 2012. Law enforcement personnel laud Kathy's authentic stories of crime and suspense for 'getting it right.'

Kathy's third book, A Deadly Justice, was released in September of 2013. She's currently working on her fourth novel, A Deadly Denial.


  1. Kathy, it was fun reading and learning more about your life on the police force. I loved A Dozen Deadly Roses and am sure A Deadly Blessing with be great!

  2. Thanks, Jerry! I've been retired for about two and a half years, and I still miss the 'good old days' in the black and white.

  3. The books sound wonderful! What an amazing--and perfect--background for a crime writer. Thanks for the glimpse into your morning watch.

  4. Hi Kaye! Thanks so much. I try to bring authenticity into my books. Morning watch...the best watch in the world. The only people out are cops, crooks, milkmen, and paper delivery people.

  5. Not at all the same, but it was my favorite nurses' aide shift, too. :)

  6. Kaye, In some ways it IS kind of the same. Probably some of the weirdest medical stuff happened in the middle of the night. I know that cops and ER staff, even before they get to work, know that the night of a full moon is going to be busy.

  7. Yes, that full moon stuff is absolutely true!

  8. Kathy -
    I really love your books. Non-stop action, and cliffhangers galore. I know when I start reading one of your stories, I'm going to be up late into the night!

    Keep writing!

  9. Thanks, Julie! Those are some of the best words a writer can hear!

  10. Really enjoyed the post, thank you for the stories!

  11. Thanks, Samantha! I'm glad you enjoyed the post. I sure enjoyed putting those burglars in jail! Thanks for stopping buy.

  12. Those are some great stories from your life as a cop! Now I see where you get the stories in your books.

  13. Hi Alyssa! Thanks. Yes, it's true. No one is safe from me! I'm always watching and listening for great tidbits I can 'tweak' and put in my books.

  14. Mark,

    Thank you so much for having me on your blog today. I had a great time and you've got some great folks here.

  15. Kathy,

    You are welcome. I can tell by the comments you have a lot of people out here that like your books--and you. Thanks for visiting Hook'em & Book'em. Best wishes on your writing journey.

  16. Wonderful insight into your days in the black and white, Kathy. Thanks for sharing it and wishing you ongoing success with your new novels.

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