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Behind and Beyond the Badge: Stories from the Village of First Responders with Cops, Firefighters, Dispatchers, Forensics, and Victim Advocates

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There is so much more to a police officer's badge, to any badge that all first responders wear. But that's what the world sees--a badge. What's behind and beyond that badge is what people need to know--the person.

In BEHIND AND BEYOND THE BADGE, Volume 1, award-winning author Donna Brown takes you to those places that few see. First responders have opened their hearts and shared what it's truly like to do their jobs, their favorite parts of the job and their toughest, career defining moments and the impact it has on their families. They are human just like you, and each faces all that life has to offer, good and bad.
Included are law enforcement officers, firefighters, EMS personnel, 911 dispatchers, crime scene/forensic technicians and victim advocates. All what Donna Brown calls her Village of First Responders.

This book and Volume II, are perfect for those who are thinking about becoming a first responder, those who have family or friends who are first responders, those who want to know more and for those who are suspect of the law enforcement profession.

This book offers a unique and thought provoking perspective from those who do the job.

Author Donna Brown was awarded gold medals in two non-fiction categories in the 2018 Florida Authors and Publishers National President's Book Awards at the August 2018 awards banquet in Orlando, Florida and is an International Book Awards Finalist in Nonfiction:True Crime announced June 2019.

275 pages, ebook

First published June 1, 2017

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About the author

Donna Brown

7 books21 followers
Donna Brown began her twenty- six-year career in law enforcement when women were still relatively new to the profession. Like most new police officers, Donna began her career working the streets answering calls for service. She then started training new recruits and turned that passion into teaching department wide, at the academy, and to community groups.
When she was promoted to sergeant, she remained on the streets and continued training new recruits. Career progression moved Donna to the Criminal Investigation Division where she spent fifteen years, ten years supervising the Homicide Unit.
Donna received the Tallahassee Police Department’s award for bravery and the inaugural Commander and Chief’s Award for Excellence, which at that time was the department’s award for Officer of the Year. She was also recognized for her part with the Tallahassee Police Department’s team that responded to South Florida days after Hurricane Andrew devastated that area.
Donna knows that there is so much more behind the badge that people don’t realize or understand. She had spent much of her career speaking to citizen groups in hope of educating and broadening minds about law enforcement.
She grew up in Titusville, Florida, when the space industry was flourishing. Return trips are not as frequent as she’d like, but it’s a place that she will always consider home. After graduating from Astronaut High School, she moved to Tallahassee, Florida, obtaining her bachelor of science degree from Florida State University in 1979. She’s a proud Seminole!
Donna is married, and together, they enjoy spending time with their four-legged fur babies, friends, and family, as well as playing golf.
Volume 1 was awarded two gold medals in non-fiction in the Florida Authors and Publisher's Association 2018 President's Book Awards, a national competition. Volume II is a finalist in the International Book Awards and has won two medals in the 2019 Florida Authors and Publishers President's Book Awards.

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Displaying 1 - 8 of 8 reviews
Profile Image for Amanda.
152 reviews17 followers
November 13, 2018
Behind and Beyond the Badge is a book for everyone –civilians, those looking to go into law enforcement, mature young adults, retirees, and more. Brown writes in a no-nonsense, straightforward tone as she relates the stories of first responders in our community. The book’s structure allows the reader to read one of its six-to-seven-paged vignettes, set it down for a time and then pick it up again to read another or to find a comfy spot and read the book through in one sitting. Each story gives an up-close look at the life of a first responder, depicting what their job is like as well as giving a glimpse into their everyday life, just like you or me. I enjoyed reading Behind and Beyond the Badge and felt like I learned a lot. I look forward to Volume Two, which is due to be released before the end of 2018!
Profile Image for Jessyca Garcia.
251 reviews24 followers
September 16, 2017
Donna Brown’s book “Behind and Beyond the Badge” was an interesting and inspiring read. Brown has honored 21 first responders by telling their stories. She asked each one what their career defining moment was. This book tells readers why these first responders do the job that they do.

I chose to read “Behind and Beyond the Badge” because I have always found police work and their stories fascinating. Brown has earned my respect as an officer and I would love to hear more of her personal stories involving her job. I really liked that Brown included so many first responders that were women in this book. That was very inspiring! Especially to my daughter who wants to be a firefighter when she grows up. This book shows that women can do the job as just as well as men. Some of the career defining moments that the officers had were eye-opening to me. People expect police to do their job without knowing what it really takes to do the job. A lot of the things police and other first responders witness is not something everyone can handle. My only complaint about the book is that Brown abbreviated the first responder lingo. The first time the term was used she would say what it stood for, but my problem was I would not remember what it stood for the next time it would come around. Other than that I really liked this book.

If you are thinking of becoming a first responder then I suggest you read this book. These careers are not for everyone. It may help you decide if it is the career you want.
~I reviewed this book for Readers' Favorite
Profile Image for Chas Rankin.
1 review
May 30, 2019
As the daughter, grand-daughter, sister and friend of a First Responder I can tell you this book was an important read for me. I knew there were often times when they were in dangerous situations, but most times I am sure they kept it to themselves to try and help save us from worry, though it didn’t always help. This book allowed me to get inside First Responder’s mind and more truly appreciate what they go through and how much we as civilians really need to understand just how much they sacrifice for us all. It also shows how much our support really does help them even if they don’t get all the words out. Thank you for helping these First Responders get their words out and sharing it with us all.
Profile Image for Pat Stanford.
Author 4 books26 followers
September 10, 2018
There IS life after being a first responder

I wanted this book because my brother has been both a cop and a fireman/paramedic and my husband's brother and his wife both were cops. All retired now, and all in what this author calls Phase 2. Hoping to encourage ANY of them to write about their experiences, I have a signed copy to give them so they can see just what such a thing could look like.

Ok that was the motivation, but I also read it and appreciate the author's attention to not only each person's time behind the badge, but that they are living, breathing people with hopes of a life beyond the badge.

Excellent job, Sgt. Brown!
Profile Image for A.E. Howe.
Author 30 books96 followers
September 29, 2017
This is a fascinating look into the real-life experiences of law enforcement officers and the staff and family that support them. Highly recommended!
Profile Image for Myles.
126 reviews
April 19, 2018
This is a great book, it does a great job of showing the true people behind the badge.
Profile Image for Ramses Coly.
22 reviews
August 8, 2022
The public service life in Leon County, Florida, told in several profiles from retirees

Retired Police Officer-turned-author Donna Brown profiles several public safety officials recounting their professional life as first responders, most of them in the Tallahassee area. "Behind and Beyond the Badge," released in 2017, features some touching stories from some of the guests, all retired, interviewed by Brown.

For example, Lt Dewey Riou, of the Tallahassee Police Department (TPD), tells the story of a hostage negotiation gone wrong where the suspect ends up shooting himself. Officer Hoyt Schmidt left TPD after only eight years of service. Officer Mike Strickland (TPD) reminds us of a hard truth: “We are all replaceable and will be replaced,” making the argument not to kill yourself just for the job and to remember your family.

Those are just a few examples of the profiles featured in "Behind and Beyond the Badge," which already has a second edition that was released in 2018. The book is 190-page long and generally well written. Brown, who herself retired as a Sergeant at TPD, putting in 26 years, also includes professionals beyond sworn law enforcement officers: a forensic scientist, a dispatcher, the widow of a fallen officer (her story is rather interesting), and even a doctor. It takes a “village of first responders” to make things happen within the criminal justice system.

However, as I read these public safety-related stories, I felt like a group of first responders were left out. I inquired during an informal chat with the author, why weren’t corrections officers included?. “It isn’t easy convincing people to trust me, someone they don’t know, and open their hearts and let me tell their story,” she said to me. Brown did say that "Behind and Beyond the Badge" Volume 1 and Volume 2 “do have deputies but none that worked in a jail or correctional facility.” She also stated that the Volume 3 book of the same name, which is expected to be released later this year “does have a sworn deputy who worked in a county jail and I’m looking to add another.”

Nonetheless, "Behind and Beyond the Badge" does a good job humanizing first responders and their families. Additionally, the reader will quickly notice a fun trivia: pretty much all first responders in Leon County attend Florida State University!
April 26, 2023
If you have worked in, or are considering a career in public safety, love someone who is or has worked in public safety, or just want to understand more about what it is like to work in policing, this is a must-read book.

This is not a book about cool cop stories. At least, not in the typical sense, where the good guys chase down the bad guys and go home at the end of the day. This is a book about people. Real people. Those that choose or chose to work in policing. It is a compilation of life experiences in one of the most personally demanding jobs on the planet.

Mostly, it is stories about character, strength, and resilience, and it starts with the author herself. A pioneering woman in Law Enforcement. Buckle up, it goes fast, so you might want to buy all three volumes when you get started.
Displaying 1 - 8 of 8 reviews

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