Book Review: Murder Behind the Badge

Few would argue that being a police officer is a dangerous yet noble profession but what happens when those entrusted to protect and serve the public turn out to be someone the public needs to be protected from. While there are cops on the take, excessive violence used during arrests and other offences, the focus of this compelling book are the few who crossed that ultimate line and become murderers.

A former police officer with seventeen years of experience to her credit, Dittrich brings a backroom perspective to this gripping collection of eighteen real life stories about killer cops. Several of the stories like that of Keith Washington, a Prince George County Maryland officer who gunned down two hapless delivery men in his home, leave onlookers wondering why he was hired in the first place. This was especially true in the case of Antoinette Frank, hired by the New Orleans Police Department despite lying on her application and doing poorly or outright failing a battery of psychological exams. In an effort to hire more blacks, Frank’s background was overlooked, a decision that resulted in the cold-blooded murder of three people. Perhaps the most frightening is case of Gerald Schaefer, a serial killer hired by the Wilson Manors Police Department, a man whose crimes are alleged to rival Ted Bundy’s.

Dittrich strikes an excellent balance by providing just the right amount of background information, scene building and character development before getting into the particulars of each murder. Absorbing as any good mystery read yet more compelling because these are true, this book will keep you up reading into the wee hours.

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