Set against the backdrop of the protest era of the 1970s, an idealistic Brown University grad postpones law school to be near his girlfriend and takes a job in Providence as a police officer - but when he discovers corruption in the department, his determination to overturn the system holds unexpected consequences for his own life.
“A cop? In Providence? Here?”
“I never—no one ever.” He was mouth moved sideways, searching for a response. “You don’t go to school here to become… Whatever made you…”
“You said you have to become involved to make a difference.”
“Yes, but that was theory. I mean, this is… Well, I mean this is different.”
He took out an unfiltered Gaulois cigarette and offered one to Steve, who declined. The professor blew perfect smoke rings as he thought.
“So you’ve acted on the theory, not just read the books. Brown students protest, then go to grad school or back to their inheritance.” He tilted his head at Steve. “Interesting. Different. But Providence—it’s such a… a low-class… What you must have to deal with. Do they even know how to…”
“It’s a different city up here on the hill. But that’s not why I asked you to meet me. I need help or need to know where to go for help.”
“How can I help?” He picked a piece of tobacco from his mouth.
“This police force is corrupt, like in New York. Maybe up to the top. I don’t know, but I see it all around. You’ve read about the Knapp Commission in New York. I met Sergeant Durk during strike at the teach-in. He said you have to change it from the inside. It could be the whole city; I don’t know.”
Steve took out a stack of envelopes.
“People give you a hundred bucks to not see things. Not for not doing anything—for not seeing things. The money is bigger on the top of the force, where they can actually do or fix something.” He took a quick look around, having given it much thought while walking the punishment posts. He didn’t trust anyone on the force and wanted to know his options when he spoke to Roxy.
He spoke more quietly. “Now, I know Brown has some big political connections. If I could get this information to the right people…”
“I’m a political science professor, not a politician. I know t he theory…”
“Yeah, I know the theory too, Professor. But now I can name names. This isn’t textbook out there. I’m not the most popular guy on the force.”
“But what do you want me to do?”
“You have access to people. I need to know, need help in how to get this information to the right people. To people I can trust.”
Whit paused and looked Steve over intently. “I’ll see what I can do.”
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About the Author
Peter S. Rush is a graduate of Brown University with a Bachelor of Arts in International Relations and received a Masters in Creative Writing from the University of Florida. He was a newspaper reporter, magazine editor, Peace Corps volunteer, and a police officer. He is currently CEO of a global management firm.