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Armed and Dangerous: Memoirs of a Chicago Policewoman
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Armed and Dangerous: Memoirs of a Chicago Policewoman

4.03 of 5 stars 4.03  ·  rating details  ·  104 ratings  ·  21 reviews
The critically acclaimed memoirs of one female police officer's sixteen-year odyssey, beginning with day one at the Police Academy and spanning assignments on Chicago's West Side, one of the most dangerous areas in the city.

The notorious cops' code of silence is broken as the author recounts incidents in the West Side projects: shoot-outs, ambushes, and what it feels like
Paperback, 336 pages
Published April 6th 2002 by Forge Books (first published March 7th 2001)
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Community Reviews

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This book contains the good, the bad and the ugly about being a police officer in the city of Chicago. I was fascinated by this woman's views on Chicago, the department, other officers, the public, her kids, etc. The author tells her compelling tale with an honesty that allows you to see the city and her environment through her eyes.

I found this book and the perspective of the police particular interesting since I have recently read Gang Leader for a Day, which chronicles a graduate student who
A fine book to read if you want to know about the cop's life - especially those in Chicago. I was left admiring them and yet wanting to avoid them. You never know whether you're dealing with a good one or a bad one.

Gallo is a fine writer, and this memoir is funny and sad by turns. She captures the first strange days of the rookie, the daily maneuvering of politics (something women must pay especially close attention to if they want to survive), and the numbing horror of seeing evil day in and d
Lori Tatar
If I had a say, I would make Armed and Dangerous: Memoirs of a Chicago Policewoman required reading for anyone considering a career in law enforcement. It is gritty and unforgettable. I will never look at a police officer the same way again.
Hannah Engel
This book is shocking and honest. Gallo discusses some really heinous topics in the gentlest way possible. I have a completely different appreciation for the police force now. I love that she admits that cops have short comings, she even says some are down right dogs, but most are just trying to serve and protect. She addresses a number of situations that range from entertaining (the priest getting caught with the prostitute) to horrifying (finding a discarded infant corpse in a trash can.) I wa ...more
A quick-reading, fascinating collection of memoirs from a female former beat cop. The author doesn't flinch from telling the most gut-wrenching tales of human depravity and insanity encountered on the job. As a former psychologist, she reaches into the minds of cops and explains why they do what they do, and how they manage to keep it together in the face of endless misery and danger. The stories range from terribly sad to hilarious, and are all told in colorful language in a matter-of-fact way. ...more
Hard-hitting, with sparse, almost cold prose, this book is a stark introduction to the real world of law enforcement in Chicago. Not for the faint of heart, but for those who want to step outside of their bubble, and see what the hard reality of life in a violent, economically depressed urban area is like, this book is an excellent, if somewhat disturbing, view into that reality.
After watching countless hours of Law & Order and other cop shows, it was good to read this candid view from the inside of the force to see that is not as exciting as it all seems on TV. While reading, I wanted the author to tell me how she was able to overcome and change the unfairness that she was faced with. The fact that she told the story as a detacted observer made me a little angry at first. But as I kept reading, I came to the same conclusion as I believe that author did. You have to ...more
Ugh. This book is brutal. If you have any faith in humanity, it will be severely tested by the reading. We're talking grotesque violence and sexual assault, including against children.

I would like to learn more about the veracity of the book, which was published in the pre-James Frey era. In her 16 years as a cop, the author seems to experience every imaginable scenario (and several unimaginable ones). She gives the impression that Chicago is as dangerous and hopeless as Nuevo Laredo or Joburg.
Well, what can I say? After having worked in the 12th district myself, it really brought me back. I love the way Gallo puts the evolution of a police officer in perspective from being a fresh recruit to the ending. I think I really related because I actually worked the beats that she did. I remember what it was like out there. And I don't feel so bad leaving the force after reading her explanations regarding various circumstances. I feel almost as though I have had a closure. I would recommend t ...more
This book made me laugh and cry, usually one right after the other. This seems to be the authors way of giving you the bad without beating the reader over the head with it. After particularly rough parts involving kids, I did have to put the book down for a little while. But I was still able to finish the book in a couple days. The author's writing style kept pace with the high adrenaline action of the police job and I really liked the dispatch/cop intros to each chapter.
Tyler Cameron
If you're looking for a shoot 'em up, swaggering, gunslinger story this ain't it. But if you're looking for a discussion of the psyche of hard working cops, with discussion of drugs and poverty and their impact so many this is it. Real, unpolished and honest it's a great look at the thoughts and motivations of those who serve and protect.
martha Boyle
Katie bought this at a book sale in Chicago and lent it to me to read. It was a very interesting inside account of what it's really like to be a police officer in a large city (Chicago). The fact that Gallo is female adds an extra element to her story, but mainly the book concentrates on the actual job and the day to day danger and sometimes heartbreak she faced for sixteen years.
Collection of stories from a woman who never wanted to join the police force but somehow found herself there. They are arranged into sections based on type of story, so if stories about child and animal abuse upset you, you can easily skip those chapters. The stories are pretty vivid, so this book isn't for the faint of heart.
Average as memoirs go but interesting life story make it compelling in my view. Especially liked the description and reflection on the cultural change one undergoes as one becomes a police officer--seeing everyone as a potential criminal, others seeing you as an authority figure that could punish them.
Big Shell
It is a decent one day quick read. She did cut into her own credibility with over hyped comments like suggesting a single needle stick injury will guarantee AIDS, which made rest of the book appear to be far more sensationalised. Because of that, I don't know how trustworthy it is. Fun to read though.
This book offers a frank and compelling look at the daily trials and tribulations of a police officer, ranging from crime on the streets to corruption in the ranks. Gallo's well-written and perceptive take on law enforcement in the City of Big Shoulders is worth checking out.
This is a very frank, candid and colorful memoir of what it is like to be not only a police officer, but a FEMALE police officer. It's riveting and most of all, very eye opening. It definitely changed my perspective on policing and police officers.
had to read this for a class this semester. quick to read, but definitely not a feel good book. Mostly the bad and the ugly, not much of the good. The four stars are for telling an illuminating story of just what it's like to be a policewoman.
This is a great book for women interested in becoming police. It shows not only the difficulties police face, but also the ones specific to women on the force. It has moments of great humor and great tragedy. A wonderful, informative read.
Thomas Fitzsimmons
This is a first rate memoir written by a veteran of the Chicago PD. Highly recommended.
Kinda campy. Not much more than ehh...
Kirsten Mashni
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