Authors Showcase: The Black Band by Albert vande Steeg
June 14, 2015
The Book: The Black Band
The Author: Albert vande Steeg
The Story: The half inch wide black velvet band that is placed around the Peace Officer’s badge symbolizes the grief and pain that grips the heart behind the badge. The Black Band begins at the graveside service of Officer Augustino as he is laid to rest. The sound of the bagpipe drifts over the departing crowd as they drift back to their duties fighting crime, corruption or mourn with friends and family.
The story brings the reader into the hearts and lives of these cops at work and at the cop bar where they tell stories to unwind and try to make sense out of the lives they lead. The stories bring insight into the anxiety while working their beats and at home where wives and children wait to hear news of which officer was slain.
The Black Band portrays cops at work, catching burglars in the act of committing crimes, discovering evidence of a robbery/homicide during a routine parole check and attempting to clean up prostitution and drug dealing.
The tension mounts when Organized Crime is found to have made inroads at City Hall, in the Police Department and even the District Attorney’s Office. The story delves into the politics that bring pressure, threats, and investigations of officer’s personal lives. They are offered bribes and enticement of wine, women and condos at the beach, none of these stop them from the pursuit of justice.
When a rock concert is promoted that brings three hundred thousand people to town the pressure is on to keep the news respectable with no enforcement of drug laws or reports of drug overdoses and deaths. Those opposed to future concerts have their “careers developed” by changes of assignments and threats.
The story culminates with the Memorial Service marking the End of Watch for Ricky Augustino. The reader is brought along into the church to hear and live through the words and emotions of the pastor and eulogy, as they attempt to give answers to the meaning of life and the relief from the stress of being a peace officer in a violent and cruel world.
About Albert vande Steeg:
Albert vande Steeg was born in the Netherlands at the beginning of the Nazi occupation of Holland during World War II. Suffering deprivation of food, freedom and justice during those formative years created a keen sense of justice and desire to provide justice to all who wish for a fair shake in life.
At age twenty four he joined the Chino, California Police Department as a reserve officer. He then served the City of Ontario Police Department for fourteen years; six in patrol and seven as a detective and one year as a training officer.
His work in the Detective bureau uncovered corruption and revealed how politics affect law enforcement. He served eight years on the Board of the Ontario Police Officer’s Association, seven as president. He was very active in politics and serving the needs of the membership. This earned him the moniker “the Policeman’s Pal.”
He and his wife host the annual retiree party, for anyone who worked at the Ontario Police Department. He also helped develop the Ontario Police Museum, currently serving on that board.
Review by Kleibo:
I absolutely loved this book. It told the heartbreaking story of what our police have to deal with on a daily basis. I have a deeper understanding of the stress being a policeman or being married to one can cause.
I also loved how the author brought religion into his writing at the most appropriate times. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who is considering this line of work or for those currently working in the field. This book is a real eye opener for people to understand just how dangerous this job really is.
There is a lot of controversy currently regarding the police and prejudice but unless you or someone you love is a police officer it is too easy to pass judgment. This book takes us into the lives of police work and left me feeling sympathy for all they give up to protect and serve.