Thursday, May 17, 2012

Interactive Interview with @zachfortier1 , Former Cop


It's been a long time since I've featured another author on this blog.  Normally, I support and feature my fellow authors over on my Celebrating Authors blog.  But what an honor to have friend and former cop, Zach Fortier (known as zachfortier1 on Twitter) as a guest.  He's an amazing supporter of others, and once you read this interview you'll appreciate even more, a terrific human being.

Zach has also agreed to answer any "cop" questions you may have for the next couple days, so be sure to post these in your comments and he'll respond to you.

Without any more delay, let's get to the interview.

Tell us about you and your background.
I recently ended a 30 year career as a cop. I have been involved in police work mostly in the western U.S. I started as an MP in the military at the age of 18 and worked in both military and civilian police departments over the span of 30 years. I have been divorced three times and married 4. I am married to an amazing woman who is extremely patient with all of my quirks(yes i have a few)

You don't describe yourself a typical writer, because you share real-life events in your books, but what inspired you to share your experiences?
I have no idea... I just write to try to get this all off my chest.... out of my head. Hopefully to bring me some peace and maybe lessen the memories reappearing at the most random and uncomfortable moments. I would like to think maybe the books will do some good as well. I have been contacted by cops and families of cops all over the US that have said they helped them to either understand their spouses, or in the cops case helped them to see that they are not alone. Being a cop can be very isolating.

What can people expect when they buy you book?
If you buy one of the three books that are currently available on Amazon.com you can expect a reality check.  They are calls as they happened, at least as i saw them happen. No punches are pulled, nothing is glossed over or smoothed to make it easier to tolerate for the reader. If you read any of my books you will get the streets as i saw them, conversations as they happened, situations will unfold as if you were there..... riding in the car with me, hearing the sounds.... seeing the events.

Can you give us a "sneak peek" from CurbChek, maybe one call or part of one call?

(This story is the first of many fights i was in that were life or death. The Guy was bigger than me and had friends who clearly made it obvious they intended to kill me and keep my badge as a trophy of the kill.) It is a true story. They all are.
I started to stop transients in the rail yards that bisected the county.  With plenty of no trespass signs, I had probable cause immediately.  I would FI, field interview, and check for warrants.  If they had none, they went on their way, have a nice day.
  If they had warrants I arrested them and booked them into jail.  I found an amazing amount of people on the run.  It could be some scary shit.  Most of them have some serious mental illness. Some are just trying to stay away from society.  All of them are armed, and some of them I learned the hard way are truly damn dangerous.
  Transients hide troll-like under bridges, and in every other place imaginable.  Anywhere there is heat or shelter, or near the free government services.  They also camp, and there’s a hierarchy, with those who panhandle outside of liquor stores at the top.  Some put together fairly serious shelters, with even the occasional gas generator, corrugated metal sheets they scrounged for roofing.  Some even take legit jobs at times.
  I developed a series of locations I would hit and check for transients and their camps.  They really liked this old abandoned boxcar at the west end of the rail yards.  It was parked near one of the free food kitchens and the door opened away from the constant winds.
  The railway workers never messed with them, they were too afraid of them.  Knowing that the last time they were confronted, the worker got himself stabbed.  One day I am looking in on that boxcar and there were several guys in it, six or seven.  I checked them all and got to the last guy named Dan Campbell.
  He is a big guy, about 6-foot-5, maybe 270 pounds.  Of which I am neither, he’s got me by at least 6 inches and 100 pounds.
  He is talking shit to me, but he shows me his ID.  I run him and he is clean.  But I see that he has all these other IDs under different names and dates of birth.  I confront him about it, and ask him why he’s got so many, although I know they use them to get food stamps in different states.  They like to trade the stamps for cash for booze, getting about 50 cents on the dollar.
  Dan says just that, that he goes from state to state and he makes more on food stamps than I make “as Barney Fife here in your shit hole town.”
  I said, “Not any more, which one are really you?”  He growled, “I am all of them, but I go by Dan Campbell here.”
  “Well Dan Campbell here is your ID,” I said.  “I am keeping the rest, since they are illegal IDs.”
  Pissed off now, he says, “You will give them back or I will kill you right here.” 
  The fight was on.  He came at me and I drew my nightstick and hit him in the chest, driving the point of the stick into him as hard I could.  It did not even slow him down.
  I took two “home run” swings at his right knee, a knockout blow baton instructors promised would end any attack because the bad guy’s knee would collapse.  Dan’s did not.
I threw the nightstick as far as I could so he would not use it against me and started to fight him hand to hand. 
  The guys he was with were cheering, rooting for him, yelling at him to kill me and talking shit to me about how they were going to take my gun and badge after Dan killed me.  I called for backup somehow as we were wrestling.  But no one knew how to get to where I was.
  Cars are rolling back and forth, lights and sirens going while we battled, both city and county cars, lots of lights and noise, but no brains.  No one can seem to find us.
  I got one handcuff on his left hand after I pushed him against my car.  I kept him against the car kidney punching him trying to get his left arm back behind him.
  His supporters ran back to the boxcar as a group when the sirens started getting close.  I thought they were getting out of there, afraid to get caught. I was wrong.
  They went back to Dan’s pack and got a .22 caliber handgun he had and loaded it.
If you could change one part of your past, what would it be?
There is a lot I would change...mostly I would like to have been a better father.

What is your current project?  Do you have any books in the planning stages?
I have two projects in the works at the moment. One is another cop book.... yes another! I had hoped that three(3) would be enough, and yet more and more memories keep coming back. So another cop book. Title is still not official... at least till i get the website secured. The second book is a Biography that has been a hot and cold project. It is about a young girl raised by in middle america that turns to meth addiction and later manufactures meth and associates with a couple of biker gangs. It is still in the works.

If you were to pick one word that best describes you as a person, what would it be?
INTENSE! I dont know how to be any other way. 

And finally, tell us 5 random things about you the person, not the author.
1)  I like Opera specifically (Italian and french operas). 
2) I ran 4 miles in 18 minutes once in a race while I was in the military(that is 4:30 minute miles, back to back). 
3) I love Ayn Rands books(the Fountainhead and Atlas shrugged). 
4) My favorite all time read is Les Miserables, Hugo is really amazing. 
5) I like cats. 


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