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Hands of the Carpenter

A Psychological Perspective of Survival in Law Enforcement

James D. Harris

  • “I loved being a cop for a variety of reasons. The most important reason was the people with whom I worked and the ‘promise.’ The promise went something like this:

  • ‘I don’t care about the shape of your badge, the color of your uniform, or the color of your skin. If I ever hear you call for help, I will risk my life to get to you.’

  • If you’ve ever been at the bottom of a pile of humanity trying to beat and kick you to death, the promise can be very compelling.” —James Harris

Hands of the Carpenter is written as a novel about the real experiences of real cops. It is not a glamorized Hollywood story, but reflects the real world, in which people do not get up off the floor, wipe away fake blood, and resume their places for a second take. We live with our decisions, which is what survival is about. The world of policing and public service is filled with endless hours of tedium and monotony, punctuated periodically by moments of sheer terror.

WARNING: This book contains profanity. This is not intended to offend the reader but simply reflects the real lives of real people.

  • “I had the privilege of working Firestone Station with the man upon whom the primary character in this book is based. Reading this book has been a catharsis for me with respect to my own memories of the days depicted in this book. Jim is absolutely spot-on with his description of the highs and lows of working as a cop in an area, where the citizens have a great need for law enforcement assistance often, which is a PC method of saying high-crime area. The modern public does not recognize that a high-crime area equates to a high rate of victimization of the people who live there by criminals. I urge anyone to read this book, especially cops who work in similar areas. In my career I met many cops from all over the United States that shared the highs and lows experienced by the cops in this book. I attended training in many areas of the US and found myself meeting cops from every type of jurisdiction; those of us that worked high-crime areas seemed to gravitate towards each other. I quickly became friends with cops from Newark, NJ, Fort Apache at NYPD, Detroit, Chicago and Miami Dade and several other similar agencies. We shared a common brother and sisterhood and the same deep emotions found in this book.” —Retired LA Cop (posted on Amazon)

402 pp.  
6" x 9"

Lantern Books



Dr. James D. Harris completed a Doctorate in Clinical Psychology while working full time for the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. He recently retired after 28 years of law enforcement experience. His assignments included the Hall of Justice Jail, Firestone Sheriff’s Station, Lynwood Sheriff’s Station, and periodic assignments to Lakewood Sheriff’s Station. He transferred to the Advanced Officer Training Bureau, where he wrote six movie scripts that explored officer-involved shooting incidents and provided training in the deployment of less-than-lethal weapons. He also provided training in “shoot-don’t-shoot” decision-making and combat shooting techniques. He has lectured to more than 35,000 law enforcement officer and fire department personnel on surviving the aftermath of critical incidents.

As a therapist, he responded with members of The Counseling Team to New York following the events of 9/11. He also responded to the Red Lakes Indian reservation near Bemidji Minnesota. He provided counseling to law enforcement personnel and the general population following a school shooting wherein a 14-year-old killed 3 adults and 6 children before committing suicide. He has provided counseling to hundreds of law enforcement officers in the aftermath of great human tragedies.
See all books by James D. Harris

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