Rod Harris was a cop.
He didn’t consider himself a writer.
“Are you kidding me?” said Harris, who grew up in Rangely and returned in 2006 after his retirement from the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department. “I’m not a literary-type person, I will be very honest with you. But I found somebody who was just superb and that was Norma Hood.”
Using Harris’ 26-year career as a police officer in Las Vegas for inspiration, Harris and Hood, who also lives in Rangely, collaborated on a fictional book that will be released sometime this month. The book is being published by AuthorHouse.
“I had to put it under fiction to protect the guilty and the innocent,” Harris said. “It is loosely based on my 26 plus years as a police officer in Las Vegas.
“It’s not a typical police story,” Harris said. “Everybody writes those. There are a thousand of them on the shelf. I will be quite frank with you, you will laugh your a.. off. You will cry. It’s hilariously funny. It’s action. It’s very easy reading.”
The book is titled “Frank-3 En route: The Streets of Las Vegas” and is the first in a three-part series. The lead character in the books is Rod Randel, a.k.a. The Hawk, which was Harris’ nickname.
“That’s officer Rod Randel’s call sign,” Harris said of the meaning behind the book’s title.
As the book jacket says of the lead character, “Las Vegas has never before seen a police officer like (Randel) … a veteran patrol officer that daily fights the inequities and injustices of the restless city.”
During Harris’ tenure as a police officer on the streets of Las Vegas, he had some interesting experiences. Like the time he arrested former heavyweight boxing champion Michael Dokes.
“He and his lawyer were fighting over the same girlfriend,” Harris said. “I got punched by him (Dokes). I never let him hit me with his knockout punch. But my baton took care of his knees.
“I was the first officer to arrest somebody and sue him the same day for hitting me,” Harris said. “I had a good lawyer.”
Another celebrity Harris encountered during his time as a police officer in Las Vegas was comedian and actor Redd Foxx.
“He lived in Las Vegas and he didn’t have a driver’s license and I would catch him on Sundays and he’d be driving,” Harris said. “I would have his wife switch with him and drive. He (Foxx) would pay for my partner and I to have breakfast at IHOP.”
As part of the collaborative process for the book, Harris verbally shared his police stories with Hood, who took the information and wrote it from a male perspective.
“He’s a great story teller,” Hood said of Harris. “My daughter (Dr. Debra Salter) has read the book three times and she said this is Rod as we know him. Rod and I have had a lot of fun. He’s like my little brother now.”
Harris said the book will be available through Amazon and at bookstores such as Barnes & Noble and Borders.
“We’ll go to Las Vegas and do book signings,” Harris said. “The first book signings we’ll do will be at Giovanni’s (Italian Grill),” Harris said of the Rangely restaurant, where he and Hood formalized plans to collaborate on a book.
“Bless Giovanni’s, we used more of their napkins writing notes,” Hood said. “Rod said we’re going to frame one of them.”
Harris said the book has received favorable reviews.
“I had reviewers read it and I had no bad reviews,” he said. “Not a one.”
The cover of the book jacket includes a photo of Harris in his police uniform taken during his days as an officer in Las Vegas. Regina Holman, a Las Vegas police officer, who used to be a partner of Harris’, reviewed the book and wrote for the book jacket, “As a police officer, I felt the excitement, the tension and the action as if I were there with Rod Randel. Frank-3 En route kept me turning pages as I laughed, cried and felt all the emotions of life on the streets of Las Vegas.”
For Harris and Hood, writing a book was a new experience.
“This is a first for both of us,” said Hood, who is a former New Mexico state legislator. “We’ve just had fun with it. And at our age, or my age, I’m 70, and if I can’t have fun doing it, I shouldn’t be doing it.”
Both Harris and Hood are looking forward to when the book is published, which they hope will be before the holidays.
“He’s so excited about it, and I’m excited, too,” Hood said. “We’ll be ecstatic once we see it in print.
“Rod said I hope we don’t disappoint people,” Hood said. “But we’re having a ball with it. I said, you know, if it doesn’t sell, we’ve still had a good time.”
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A dinner for members of the Ute Tribe will be held Nov. 12 at the Fairfield Community Center in Meeker. The dinner will start at 5 p.m.
“Since we didn’t have a powwow this year, we just want to keep in touch and talk about what’s next,” said Lynn Lockwood, who is a member of the Smoking River Pow Wow Committee.
The potluck dinner is open to the public. To RSVP, contact Lockwood at email@example.com or 878-4039.
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Donna Wille of Meeker organized a local effort for the Cup Of Joe For a Joe program.
“With funds donated by our community, I donated $200 to this organization for the soldiers. I thought Meeker should know about it since it was their generosity that made it possible,” Wille said.
Here are some of the comments from soldiers:
“Thank you so much for your generosity!”
“Donna, thank you for your true genuine support to all our service members. You are why we are here, it is the American people like you that make this all worth it. Please be safe in all your travels this holiday season. We are all one! Thanks again and God bless!”
“Thank you very much! And I can speak for those I work with in the USAF, we are diligently hunting bad guys day and night and accomplishing very tangible objectives routinely. Thanks for the morale boost!”
“Thank you and all the folks in Meeker, CO. Your support and good wishes are greatly appreciated. It is because of your patriotism that we can do what we do.”
“Thank you, Donna, to all of you! Iraq feels like the forgotten war these days, so all of us left over here really appreciate the thoughts and prayers from home. I especially have a special place in my heart for Colorado; I was stationed at Fort Carson for three years (half of that deployed), and I hope to be able to come back so I can finish exploring the beautiful mountains!”
“Thank you for your support, prayers, and the cup of coffee. It is an honor to serve America.”
“Please tell the folks out in Meeker, Colorado, how much I appreciate this. Also pass along that it’s people like you that make my deployment worthwhile. Thank you all very, very much!”
“Friends from Meeker, thanks so much for your thoughts and prayers. I appreciate the little things so far from home. We’ll continue to do our best.”
“To the great people of Meeker and the White River Valley, I’ve never been to Meeker, but I will put it on my list of things to do. I looked you up on the Internet and it sounds like a neat place. Thank you so much for your generous support and your awesome words of encouragement and prayers. I’m deployed near Tikrit, Iraq. I’ve been here since June and hopefully will be able to go home by next June. Taking a few moments to go by the Green Bean and enjoy a cup of joe is a wonderful break and I look forward to it.”
To sponsor a cup of coffee for a solider, go to www.greenbeanscoffee.com.
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The Rio Blanco County Communications Center received a report of a loud noise Oct. 27.
“We had a report of a loud rumbling noise and the earth trembling at about 4 p.m. on Oct. 27. Apparently, a lot of people heard and felt it, all the way from County Road 43 and County Road 4 to the top of Third Street and at Watt’s,” said Sara Mee, with the RBC Sheriff’s Office. “We were unable to figure out what caused it. I called the National Earthquake Information Center in Denver to see if they registered anything and they stated they didn’t, and their equipment is usually really good about picking up disturbances anywhere in Colorado, including Meeker.”
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I woke up early Sunday morning and turned on the coffee pot in my kitchen. At the same time, I squirted some dish soap in my coffee cup to wash it.
However, I got distracted doing something else and forgot I had put dish soap in my coffee cup.
I wondered why those first few sips of coffee had a different taste.
Jeff Burkhead is editor of the Herald Times. You may e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.