Writer's Notes

Just the Facts, Ma’am closes

This will be the last you hear from me on this site. As with all good things, Just the Facts, Ma’am (JtFM) will come to a close. It’s not for lack of stories, to be sure. A dearth of time is the culprit. I have a book to finish. And after almost losing the mister last year, family has become that much more precious. They only ask my time.

Thonie Hevron

I’d like to take this opportunity to thank LAPD alum Hal Collier—the guy who started it all. His stories emailed to other LAPD retirees became the bulwark of JtFM. Thank you to Gerry Goldshine, an early contributor. Mikey sent us his memories once a month. Sometimes we laughed; sometimes we cried. Thanks, Mikey for your moving words. Ed Meckle became the most prolific writer in the JtFM and has earned my gratitude. Ron Corbin came to the party late but gave us all a lot to laugh about. Thanks, Ron. There were other writers, to be sure. Take a moment to scan through the posts for some interesting stories from the guys who’ve been there, done that.

For two years, I hosted Writers Notes. Other authors posted themed stories with links to their work. I met some terrific folks who I’ll continue to call friends. There are some great writing tips in those posts–available for another year.

As for me, I’m still putting the finishing touches on what was Felon with a Firearm but is now Felony Murder Rule. It is off to beta readers already. My list of readers reads like a who’s who of local law enforcement: Mike Brown, retired captain and homicide detective and Will Wallman, retired sergeant (Coroner’s Office) both from Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office and Mike McBride, retired Marin County District Attorney’s Investigator. Also, Karen Lynch, retired Homicide Investigator from San Francisco Police Department and author of Good Cop, Bad Daughter. These fine folks promise an authentic reading experience.

Once I get their feedback, it’ll be more keyboard time to make corrections and such. It looks like I’m closing in on the final draft of the fourth Nick and Meredith Mystery. Boy, is it a good feeling! So you won’t see me on my blog Just the Facts, Ma’am anymore but I will be at work. I’ll continue to email quarterly notes about the progress of my books, appearances, and so on. If you’re interested, sign up at

Thanks for your loyal readership. It’s been great.

Thonie Hevron

More Street Stories

War Stories

By Thonie Hevron

As you know, I host this blog every Sunday morning related to law enforcement. Currently I have several retired LAPD veterans who write posts, like war stories at briefing. While their readership is growing, I’ve been thinking of mixing it up a bit—with prompts. I ask and you answer. “Tell me about the time you…”

A retired deputy friend of mine, Will Wallman, gave me an excellent idea: When did you first know you were no longer a rookie cop?

Some future prompts might be like this:

  • When did you realize you couldn’t tell civilians what you did for a living in a social situation? What did you say was your occupation?
  • Do/did you experience burn-out? If so, what do/did you do about it?
  • What do you do to stay sharp on the job? To decompress or blow off steam?
  • Talk about the proudest moment of your career.
  • What was your idea of the best job ever?

To answer, click on “reply,” then “accept” cookies and type your comment in the “reply” box. You may have to create an identity in Wordpress but you will be prompted if you need to. If you have an idea for a prompt, feel free to PM me or send me your ideas at

Situational answers are great, one-liners work, too. My audience is mostly mystery writers and other cop-like folk. Caveat: please, no politics or religion unless it relates to the story.

Here are a few examples of real answers to “When did you know you were no longer a rookie cop?” from a private LE Facebook page I belong to:

TB (Northern California rural deputy): The first time I thought I might get shot on duty. Or, when I drove around the corner after making a death notification for a 5-year-old girl, who was spending the night at her cousins, and started crying. Time on the job sometimes doesn’t mean a lot, but experience does.

WM (suburban municipal police Northern California): It was when I graduated from SRJC (Santa Rosa Junior College) Police Academy! With no prior police experience just 8 years in the military, as a supply clerk. I was on my own about 2 weeks after I was hired. No FTO. I had been on the street pretty much in solo units for 18 months before starting Academy. California police work was a lot different back in the 1960’s.

KG (small northern California municipality): My father died from suicide with a self-inflicted gunshot to the head, I knew one day that call would come. I remember it being all business on scene but later it hit me. I didn’t have a meltdown or anything and I’m pretty sure I didn’t cry. As time went on, I actually felt pretty good about being able to do the job and checking my personal stuff at the door. I had maybe two years’ experience then, and the rule was rookie for 5 years, but I knew then I was capable so in my head I was no longer a rook.

CL (rural California sheriff’s deputy): Hired by HPD after being a reserve for a few months. First day on the job it was me and the chief. My first call was from the chief and it was “10-50x at Silviera Pontiac. We were using the old nine code back then and I had no clue what I was going to and wasn’t going to ask! Drove there kinda fast and it was a VIN verification. Not a veteran yet.
That took six months and a big bar fight at Norm’s and a head injury requiring a trip to ER, stitches and time off to let the swelling go down.

Please feel free to share (anonymously if you wish). We’d love to see your answers.


Next week, Ed Meckle will be back with a few stories about Wilshire Detectives.

By Force or Fear, Intent to Hold, and With Malice Aforethought
all available on Amazon
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