Retired Grand Rapids officer publishes memoir

Grand Rapids
A photo of the "Real Cop" book cover, which was published by retired Grand Rapids Police Department Officer David Leonard.

A photo of the “Real Cop” book cover, which was published by retired Grand Rapids Police Department Officer David Leonard.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A retired Grand Rapids patrol officer is sharing his experience with a career on the road in a new memoir.

Officer David Leonard retired from the Grand Rapids Police Department in 2017.

“I had a little bit of difficulty transitioning into just normal, civilian life after being in such a demanding, intense job for so long. There were really no books, no memoirs, no biographies from career street cops,” Leonard shared with News 8 Tuesday. “The glaringly missing among all the police media resources was just the life and times of the everyday street cop, which is really the backbone of any police department.”

His book, “Real Cop,” documents 26 of the 27 years he spent as a police officer. He joined GRPD in 1991 after working as a deputy in Montcalm County for a year.

“I never sought promotion. I never even signed up for a promotional test,” Leonard explained. “I can’t say that I began my career saying I would always be a patrol officer, but that’s just kind of the way things went. I was always proud to say I did all of my time on the street.”

The back cover describes the memoir as conveying “the heavy personal toll the job takes on America’s police officers” and “provides a rare look at the human side of a typical street cop.”

“There are so many misconceptions about our police officers today… I don’t claim to speak for all police officers, I can only say I speak through my experiences, but I think my experiences aren’t unique compared to what other officers go through. And I believe that the public, I think other officers will perhaps use my story to glean a little bit better understanding of a police officer,” Leonard said. 

More information, including how to purchase the memoir, can be found on Leonard’s website.  

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