Larry Avrech meets courage and fear in his story that waited to be told for more than three decades. This is a story of the complexity describing humans simply doing the best they can, and in that, others are sometimes harmed. A painful exploration of the realities of emerging modern policing. Current leaders and police officers can use these decades-old events as a guideline for policing today.
Just as none of us are of a single story, neither is the story of the murder of Donna Gentile. The books walks the reader through a dark period of a large city police department and other county agencies, shining light into the shadows of corruption and acknowledging those striving to do the right thing.
The story could read like a novel of deception and intrigue yet it is a telling of real events, naming real places and describing real people. I had worked for the same department as a police officer during the era described by Larry. For me, the first few pages of the book activated many of my own real memories and experiences of the people around those events. Some of those memories were painful and sad, some brought smiles. It is a necessary part of being human that allows us to face it all.
Larry’s book invites all readers and anyone with an interest in criminal justice and policing, to face the reality that policing is hard. Life is hard. Police departments are comprised of human beings, with all their strengths and weaknesses and frailties. They stumble. They fall. Yet, through it all, they rise back up to protect us.
Donna Gentile died. Larry Avrech felt persecuted and was terminated from his police career. Larry’s book may allow positive meaning to be placed around Donna’s death. Larry Avrech has found vindication.
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