Pierce R. Brooks flew for the
US Navy during World War II. After the war, he joined the Los Angeles Police Department in 1948 or 1949.
As a Los Angeles Police Officer, Pierce R. Brooks worked patrol, vice, narcotics and homicide. According
to the Crime Classification Manual, “along the way in Los Angeles, he met Jack Webb, the Hollywood director and actor.
Webb performed both function for the television series, Dragnet, and played the part of Sergeant Joe Friday.
Brooks was a perfectionist in his work, and he saw in Webb the same characteristics.” The
manual continued, “the respect was mutual. From time to time during Sergeant Friday’s opening
monologue on Dragnet, he announced the shift’s Watch Commander as Lieutenant Pierce Brooks.”
After a twenty years career,
Pierce Brooks retired as a captain with the reputation as one of the best detectives in the United States. After
the Los Angeles Police Department, in May 1970, Chief Brooks served as the Director of Public Safety in Lakewood, Colorado.
Brooks gained famed as the detective in Joseph Wambaugh’s book, The Onion Field, a
true story of a brutal police killing. An acknowledged expert on police survival, he has conducted many
seminars and lectures through the country. Brooks firm belief that most police killings could have been
avoided motivated him to write, “…officer down, code three.”
Pierce R. Brooks is also the
author of The Investigative Consultant Team: A New Approach for Law Enforcement Cooperation.
On reader of …officer down, code three, said,
“This is a very good book which has several fictional stories about simple mistakes that can cause an
officer their life either from their own mistakes or others.
One of the stories
is about an officer who is riding shotgun with his partner driving and is constantly falling asleep in the car while on patrol.
His partner tries to talk to him about it but gets rebuffed with the other officer saying, "It'll be alright."
etc. Until one day, the sleeping officer is jolted awake by gunfire and a car speeding away. The officer jumps out of the
car and rushes to his partner laying on the street in front of it and discovers two large gunshot wounds to his partners chest.
Instinctively he grabs
his shoulder mike and says, "38-80 Officer down, code three!" The radio crackles back, "38-80, Your location?"
The officer stands up, looks around and sees nothing familiar. Just a road surrounded in trees. Racing through his mind, trying
to remember where he is. The radio crackles again, "38-80, WHAT IS YOUR LOCATION?" Looking down at his partner,
literally dying in front of him, he cannot remember where he is or how he got there...”
On reader of …officer down, code three, said, “A
classic gem of the police procedural world and invaluable to authors and readers. I'm lucky to have a signed first edition
copy and enjoy browsing through the stories of how an officer must always be on the alert for the unexpected. "...OFFICER
DOWN, CODE THREE." was for many years the only book out there for police training and in many aspects has not been surpassed
by later efforts. Over and over Pierce R. Brooks stresses the refrain "use your common sense." The book is a gold
mine for authors looking for story ideas of the period. It was invaluable for us as our stories occurred
during the period when this was fresh information and it is sometimes difficult to obtain data about our recent past when
computers were not an everyday tool.”