More About the Author
Mark Langan retired after a twenty-six-year career with the Omaha Police Department. In 1978 Mark was the youngest police officer ever hired on the Omaha Police Department at age eighteen. He worked as a uniformed officer and as a detective in the Burglary, Vice, and Narcotics Units. Mark was promoted to the rank of sergeant in 1988, working as a supervisor in the Narcotics Unit until his retirement in 2004.
During his career Mark wrote nationally published articles on various law enforcement topics and lectured throughout the country. Recognized as a court-authorized expert on narcotics investigations, Mark testified hundreds of times in both state and federal court.
Mark is certified in teaching workplace violence and active shooter training for employees in private corporations.
He has appeared on national news programs including The Nancy Grace Show, CNN, and The Today Show.
Mark was awarded the Omaha Police Department's highest honors: the Medal of Valor for his actions in the Chavez shooting and the Distinguished Service Medal for his work in the Narcotics Unit, and numerous commendations over the years.
From 2000 to 2008 Mark was appointed by the Governor to the Judicial Nominating Commission and was involved in selecting candidates for judgeships in Nebraska.
Mark is now Vice-President of Field Operations for the Nebraska Humane Society where he is responsible for the investigation of crimes involving animals. He has continued writing articles for national law enforcement publications and is a recognized national speaker on animal cruelty and dog fighting issues. He serves as a consultant on security and law enforcement topics for private clients.
Mark and his wife, Annette, live in Omaha with their black Labrador Laci.
BUSTING BAD GUYS
Reviewed by Steve Eskew
Constabulary Duties Must Be Done With Precision
As real life narcotics sergeant Mark Langan prepared to shoot it out with crazed drug dealer Jose Chavez, dubbed "One-Eyed Jack," he concentrated on the three major dictates of marksmanship: Breath control, slow trigger squeeze and don't put the fat part of your finger on the trigger.
After a fascinating account of the entire police stakeout, Langan recalls the climax of the gunfight: "I took a deep breath, aimed at his head and slowly pulled the trigger. As soon as the shot was fired, I saw the right side of his face violently recoil backward. He dropped to the street. Finally the suspect was down."
When I write a profile, sometimes I have a beast of a time probing my interviewee to remember anecdotes that would entertain readers. Had I ever interviewed retired sergeant Langan, something tells me that he would have had no shortage of gripping stories to share.
In Busting Bad Guys, Langan takes the reader on a series of riveting adventures as he reminisces in vivid detail about his decorated 26-year career on the Omaha Police Department. His experiences also encompassed a variety of treacherous exploits outside of narcotics, such as uniform patrol, burglary and vice in the mean underbelly of that metropolitan city.
In the course of his five-year tenure on uniform patrol Langan notes that he learned invaluable life lessons. He witnessed shootings, knifings and babies who died of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. He saw starved and beaten children and elderly who simply succumbed to the pitfalls of poverty.
During his time in the burglary unit Langan became proficient in the art of interrogation. One of the tricks to the trade was to accuse the perp of a much more serious crime than you suspected him of doing. For example, Langan would tell a burglary suspect that he knew the guy was guilty. "What concerns us, Jerry, is this:" Langan said once, "There's a young girl that lives in that house. We've had several rapes in the neighborhood. Did you break into that house with the intent to rape that girl or just steal her TV?"
As Langan expected, the perp folded; "Oh man, I admit to stealing the television. But I ain't no rapist. You gotta believe me."
Langan lovingly practiced his interrogation skills on his own children: "Katie, Tommy says you're being mean to him. Did you punch him or just pinch him?"
Once when he had a tip that some thugs were going to steal a motorcycle, Langan organized an undercover surveillance operation. As fate would have it, the battery on the crooks' van happened to run dead. Langan pulled up in his unmarked car and, posing as a good samaritan, offered to let the thugs use his jumper cables.
"The bad guys were very appreciative, even offering twenty bucks for the effort," Langan remembers. After a successful cable-jump, Langan left the thugs to fulfill their devious plan and they promptly drove directly to the motorcycle. As they were loading it into the van. Langan arrested the surprised culprits, whose facial expressions must have been priceless.
Langan found his time working the vice unit even more exciting. One incident involved a teenaged boy pimping for his mother. In another case, after a woman propositioned him, he showed her his badge, causing her to freak out and attempt to jump out of the police car. As he grabbed her, she threw his portable radio out of the window, followed by his badge before he managed to get her under control.
But Langan says that the most dangerous working "girl" to arrest was the cross-dresser. "These were men who dressed as women so they could make money doing what they enjoyed best: blowing other men. Some of these guys looked really good, and at night it was tough to tell the difference. They fought like crazy when being arrested."
Langan relates his many adventures with meat and potatoes precision, illustrating a cop's life with detailed imagery but without sensationalizing the excitement. He balances his memoir by sharing his years-later encounter with (One-Eyed Jack) Chavez's daughter and an update on a childhood playmate who had descended into prostitution. The book's sheer readability and intriguing subject matter makes you sorry to find yourself on the final page.
Copyright 2014 Eskew to the Rescue. All rights reserved.