“Behind the Thin Blue Line" offers a humorous peak behind the curtain.
Follow us on Twitter at @AdTribNews
It is a relative few who get the opportunity to really get a sense of the those who comprise our local law enforcement personnel. But a new book, “Behind the Thin Blue Line” by a former Yellow Medicine County Chief Deputy is offering every day citizens a peak behind the curtain, with a collection of stories that reveal a very heroic, humorous and humane group of men and women much deserving of the community’s appreciation and thanks.
“I’m not in it for the money,” said former YMC Chief Deputy of 34 years Richard ‘Blackie’ Blackwelder. “I’m just in it to tell my friends and relatives about the kinds of things we did at work and what it was really like. And I think it’s important that they see there was a humorous side, too. We needed a way to release stress, and we only had each other to do that.
‘Blackie,’ as he has been affectionately known throughout his life, has been a resident of Minnesota since 1967. A graduate of Breckenridge High School, he received a degree in Law Enforcement from the Alexandria Area Vocational Technical Institute and at the age of 20 went on to begin his career with the Yellow Medicine County Sherriff’s Office where he was stationed out of Canby until his retirement on February 29, 2008.
Prior to his departure, Blackie was asked repeatedly about what he planned to do with his free time, and as he reflected on his three-plus decades of experience it occurred to him that he had garnered quite a few interesting stories that might give community members a better sense of himself and his counterparts while serving as a good book.
Stories put together by Blackie over the past six years range from simple tales that give indication to the importance of the behind the scenes work of dispatchers to heart wrenching tales revolving around life and death circumstances that sometimes brought joy and other times sorrow.
There was the time Blackie talked a man down in Hazel Run as he held a gun to his head, and the many interesting happenings assisting the people of Granite Falls and Clarkfield during flood and tornado recovery. In another instance, he tells the story of how he resuscitated a newborn believed by even the First Responders to be deceased.
“That’s the one accomplishment in my life I’m most proud of,” said Blackie, the one individual who never gave up.
A family man first and a deputy second, Blackie says that it is his three sons and wife, Linda, that allowed him to remain dedicated to his chosen profession all those years.
Although I loved being a Law Enforcement officer, I love my family even more,” Blackie said in the book’s prologue. “If it wasn’t for my wife and three sons, I wouldn’t have last the thirty-four years. I thank them for giving me a purpose in life. I don’t want my family to remember me as a Law Enforcement Officer, but as a husband, father and grandfather.
Utilizing an author’s cooperative book publishing company out of the Cities, Blackie said that he is hoping to at least break even on the books which are being sold for $20 paperback and $30 hardcover.
Reviews of the book have been positive and a breakfast group out of Clara City has lined him up for a speaking engagement. He even has ideas for a follow up book, featuring stories from sheriff’s offices throughout Minnesota if he ‘doesn’t lose too much money’ on his initial effort.
“Behind the Thin Blue Line" can be ordered online from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Xlibris, or reaching Blackie at 507-223-7706.