The story then provides a detailed account of what these policemen called as Barfers, went through.
The Barfers who are predominantly of Mexican Origin, take this as an opportunity display their Valor. They soon set up a system to thwart robberies. As they slowly start to succeed, the media frenzy picks up and the Barfers become Heroes in the public eye.
However, the job itself requires them to be at places like inside sewers to intercept robberies. They are constantly gripped by the fear of being shot at or stabbed in the dark any day. This gradually has a negative effect on the Barfers. Eventually, the mental health of the Barfers starts to deteriorate, with most of them resorting to drinking heavily and also contemplating suicide.
The Book throws light on the business of maintaining country borders. The immigrants, not having enough jobs and facilities, in the US have formed really violent gangs. The influence of the Drug Cartels has also risen across the border. Many more robust measures are being taken now to prevent both illegal immigration as well as crime by gangs against the border jumpers.
This has become a hot topic in almost every US Presidential Election. This book successfully immortalizes the Valor of the Barfers providing us with intense images of an important yet now seemingly tiny incident in the border struggles.
Jul 25, Paul Haspel rated it really liked it Shelves: san-diego. In San Diego, one has a definite sense of living on the line. That line is the international border that separates the affluence of Southern California from the poverty and despair of Tijuana. Every day, people from Mexico and Central America who want to break out of the cycle of Third World deprivation seek to cross the border into the United States; and in the late 's, a compassionate San Diego police officer saw how these unfortunate campesinos were being preyed upon by border bandits, an In San Diego, one has a definite sense of living on the line.
Every day, people from Mexico and Central America who want to break out of the cycle of Third World deprivation seek to cross the border into the United States; and in the late 's, a compassionate San Diego police officer saw how these unfortunate campesinos were being preyed upon by border bandits, and decided to try to do something about it. As Joseph Wambaugh tells it in Lines and Shadows , the result was the formation of a Border Crime Task Force whose members disguised themselves as pollos "chickens," a slang term for vulnerable undocumented aliens and walked out into a desert landscape of rattlesnakes and scorpions and tarantulas and cacti, with the goal of decoying robbery-minded border bandits into attacking them.
The gambit worked all too well, resulting in many arrests and much positive publicity for the San Diego Police Department, but also in a number of shootings in which both cops and robbers were wounded, and ultimately two people died. Wambaugh, a veteran police officer, writes of the pressures that these police officers face -- prejudice against Mexican-American police officers in a predominantly Anglo police department; heavy drinking in response to constant stress; strained marriages as the celebrity status of these modern "gunslingers" draws groupies.
Wambaugh's prose is workmanlike, suitable to the no-nonsense police world that he describes; readers looking for the noir -ish poetry of a Chandler or a Hammett will be disappointed, and readers who are offended by coarse language should most definitely avoid this book. All in all, Wambaugh provides a striking picture of an unusual police experiment that brought into relief the existence of an ongoing problem that no one has yet managed to solve. This book was written over 25 years ago.
How many undocumented aliens will try to cross that invisible line in the sand tonight? How many of them will be preyed upon by bandits who are capable of untold cruelty? What officials, either in Mexico or in the United States, are looking out for these poor, vulnerable, stateless people? The answers still seem as difficult to grasp as an invisible line in the sand, or a shadow cast by the moon. Those were different times. Illegals from Mexico were crossing the border, much as today, but the purpose of the task force was not to hunt them down but to protect them from bandits were saw them as prey for robbery, rape, and sometimes murder.
The task force was made up mostly of Mexican-American cops who were woefully underrepresented among San Diego po This is the story of a special task force established by the San Diego Police Department in the late s called the Border Crime Task Force. The task force was made up mostly of Mexican-American cops who were woefully underrepresented among San Diego police forces, and those recruited saw serving on it as much to gain respect as to do something more challenging than their ordinary beats.
The task force lasted but over a year, but in that short span it went from heralded glory to ignominious demise. It took its toll on everyone in it--alcoholism, broken marriages, afflictions akin to PTSD. And whereas the enterprise began with noble motives, it deteriorated rapidly into a mean parody of itself. Joseph Wambaugh has something of a Walter Winchell writing style, kind of hard-edged and "gee whiz" at the same time. I didn't really care for it. He writes about how the task force often ended their shifts by retiring to a bar and telling their stories.
Well-known as a former cop himself, Wambaugh strikes me as someone who would fit right in, regaling others with the stories he had to tell. Essentially what happened with the task force was that it "went rogue. News reports have been more frequent about the phenomenon of rogue cops. This book grants something of an insider's view how certain elements of closed police culture can have that happen, where cops become so inwardly focused on something other than their true mission that they mold the law however they see fit.
Feb 10, Ed rated it really liked it Shelves: non-fiction , crime , law-enforcement. Author Wambaugh interrupts his string of best selling novels of the LAPD to deliver his first non-fiction entry since The Onion Field in this tale of policing the Mexican border.
This book details the formation of a special unit created in in San Diego. The unit's main goal was to help "pollos" immigrants crossing into the US stay clear of bandits men that would rob, rape and harm the pollos they came across. The police officer in charge, Manny Lopez, becomes drunk with the media attention and soon the lines between good and bad blur.
The men under his command are afraid to counter Lopez's orders in fear that they may be considered sissies not the word used, but This book details the formation of a special unit created in in San Diego. The men under his command are afraid to counter Lopez's orders in fear that they may be considered sissies not the word used, but you get the picture. There are nights of debauchery and relationships become strained between man and wife and commander and officer. An interesting look at border relations in a different time period.
As I read, I realized not much has changed in the way of how the US regards immigration and how to deal with the issue. Also, an interesting look at culture and identity and the distinction between Mexicans from the South and those that live just across the imaginary line and there is a difference. I wouldn't mind reading more by this author. He is a retired police officer and he doesn't hold any punches holding up the mirror to his fellow brothers.
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Jun 05, Eric rated it really liked it. Being a fan of the "Onion Field", I was looking forward to reading this book.
Lines and Shadows is a nonfiction book by Joseph Wambaugh, a sergeant for the Los Angeles Police Department, chronicling the activities of the Border. Not since Joseph Wambaugh's best-selling "The Onion Field" has there been a true police story as fascinating, as totally gripping as A squad of tough cops called the Border Crime Task Force. Wambaugh joined the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) in
Wambaugh doesn't disappoint with this magnificent story of the "Last of the Gunslingers". An outstanding cast of Mexican-American police officers from San Diego are chosen for the experiment. Led by egocentric and charismatic Manny Lopez, the team encounters many dangers in Being a fan of the "Onion Field", I was looking forward to reading this book.
Led by egocentric and charismatic Manny Lopez, the team encounters many dangers in the canyons on the border. Wambaugh depicts confrontations between the brave cops and bandits with gripping detail. He captures the machismo and courage of each hero. This story is a triumph and a tragedy.
The violence of the canyons takes a toll on the team in light of being the media's favorite eleven o'clock news story. Things come and go, the Border Alien Robbery Force was no exception. But there are many who live today thanks to their efforts down there on that "imaginary line". Apr 26, Marti rated it it was ok. Most of my reading is fiction. Usually the only nonfiction books I read are for book group. I have read Joseph Wambaugh's books in the past and enjoyed them. This time I found it rather hard going--the subject of a separate police unit in San Diego dealing with Mexicans crossing the border as well as 'bandits' who prey upon them is interesting.
The members of this unit were well described, but at times I found the reading ponderous.