Chris Swinney (C. L. Swinney), @clswinney, is currently assigned to a Department of Justice Task Force that investigates a myriad of cases ranging from street level drug dealers and Bank Robbers to homicides and complex Mexican Cartel cases. When criminals run, Chris is called to find them. He puts his unbelievable experiences and everyday life as a Detective into his writing.
Chris officially began his writing career when his feature article was published in Fly Fisherman Magazine. After this, his work continued to appear in PointsBeyond.com, Alaskan Peninsula Newspaper, California Game & Fish, and again in Fly Fisherman Magazine again. He’s now a contributor to PoliceOne.com, the nation’s premier law enforcement online magazine.
Chris came up with the concept for his Bill Dix series while fly fishing in Andros, Bahamas. As he landed on the island, he noticed several downed planes, which piqued his interest. While on the island, he was fortunate enough to speak with and interview several islanders and law enforcement members. His first novel, Gray Ghost, was born from these interviews and was infused with Chris’s experiences as a Detective. His debut novel made best seller’s lists on Amazon in paperback and kindle for Crime Fiction and Mystery.
I sat staring at the screen for this blog for quite a long time. I’m not sure why since I’ve never experienced writer’s block, but something was amidst. I think I had too many ideas battling it out in my mind for me to pick one. So, like any other righteous and sophisticated author would do, I let my seven year old pick the topic. Drum roll please…he told me to write about what I do at work!
Well, that would take more than one blog post to cover, unless I did a serialized novel, but I’m pretty sure he was telling me to write about the really fun stuff. So, here goes.
I’m in a unique position, not only in California, but in the United States as well. I’m a Deputy Sheriff and part of two different task forces, one for narcotics and one for everything else. I literally investigate cases from street level dealers and pimps to homicide suspects and cartel organizations. It’s made for some very interesting days and long nights. But the satisfaction of keeping the public safe is what drives me to excel at my profession.
The men and women in law enforcement sometimes get a bad rap in the media (and I’ll be the first to admit sometimes we deserve the ridicule), but I work tirelessly to change the public’s perception of what it is we do and see on any given day. Let me share what I did last week to give you a better idea of what I’m talking about.
We get a tip that a subject who is on probation is hiding another person who is wanted. The wanted person is wanted for an indictment for raping a woman and stealing her car. The thought of what this person is “alleged” to have done makes me sick. I say “alleged” because we are all innocent until proven guilty, but listening to the victim explain what happened to her leaves no doubt. He did it, and he should serve time for it. We whip up a plan, gather enough bodies to do a search of the residence, and head out to attempt to locate the suspect. Long story short, I make contact with the wanted suspect as I enter the home. He looks fishy and won’t show me his hands. He’s thinking of running or worse, I wonder if he’s armed? The suspect still won’t show me his hands and the situation is tense. People are yelling, subjects are coming out of rooms, dogs are barking, and the guy who has an arrest warrant won’t show me his hands. This is the most dangerous time of our careers. The unknown is my greatest fear. He makes a quick movement and pulls his hand out of his pants. He’s got a black cell phone in his hand and he raises it like he wants to shoot me. I don’t pull the trigger, advance, keep giving orders, and run the entire scene until I can reach the suspect to go hands on. This is all decided and completed in a split second. My heart is pumping and my blood pressure is sky-rocketing.
In today’s court of law, it’s unclear what twelve people would have decided to do with me, loss of career, imprisonment, or nothing. Either way, I would have to live with killing someone over a cell phone and it would torment me. Often times, officers who experience such a scenario end up committing suicide. It’s just part of the job for me, but a scary part indeed.
Nonetheless, let’s get to the fun stuff. I get to talk at schools and try to educate the public on what we do in law enforcement. Seeing kids smile is truly cool. I get to participate in a camp for a week for underprivileged children. It’s tougher than pushing a patrol car, but rewarding for sure. I get to give presentations throughout the United States on my profession and attend trainings to make me better prepared for scenarios like I described above. My two favorite things are rescuing children from violent or impoverished situations, and going home at the end of my shift.
Lastly, I’d like to add that not all cops or deputies are the same. There are many of us who genuinely like to help people and are approachable. If you’re reading this and have questions, comments, or concerns, please feel free to contact me here or my email (firstname.lastname@example.org). Have a great day/night!
While on a fly fishing vacation to Andros Island in the Bahamas, narcotics detectives Dix and Petersen discover their fishing guides were killed when a sudden blast of gunfire fractured their speedboat, Gray Ghost. Local gossip has it that Gray Ghost went to the ocean floor with a hundred million dollars’ worth of cocaine in the hull.
Dix and Petersen, against their better judgment, are drawn into helping their island friends even though it could cost them their careers. Leads are chased down in the Bahamas and Miami. The two detectives identify a diabolical plot of a sinister man known only as “The Caller.”
An elaborate trap is set for The Caller, but he’s two steps ahead of the detectives. As the drama unfolds, it’s unclear who can be trusted. When it appears The Caller will get away once again, lead detective Dix and his sidekick Petersen exhaust everything they have in an effort to capture the criminal mastermind.