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Johnny Russell

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Johnny Russell is a thirty year veteran of the San Diego Police Department.  “After his mother relocated her six children to California she met his father, a postman by profession, subsequently Johnny Russell was born. He grew up in Los Angeles in the 1960s, during a time when today’s street gang epidemic was at an embryonic stage. The effects that the inner city had were only considered, “part of growing up.” 

Johnny loved reading, as a kid while his siblings were outside playing he could be found in his bedroom reading the most current marvel collection, Superman, Batman, Ironman, Thor, Captain America, and etc.  Johnny’s mother moved the family to Fresno, California where Johnny’s first contact with writing came when he was appointed editor of the high school newspaper. His writing and editing earned him early admission to Fresno City College while still in the eleventh grade at High School.  

Since becoming an adult Johnny has moved to San Diego where he has earned his living for the past thirty years as a police officer. He easily made the transition from police writing to creative writing, he has published several articles and stories in San Diego Police Department and Police Officer Association publications.”  Johnny Russell is the author of First Blood.

According to the book description of First Blood, “one family is caught up in the never-ending cycle of gang violence after seeking a fresh start in Los Angeles, California. Ever since he was a small boy in Texas, Rodney "Neon" Robinson always called the shots. But when his newly-single mother moves him and his six siblings to southern California, their new life introduces them to more than a new urban existence. Twelve-year-old troubled Neon falls victim to the streets and becomes incarcerated, spending the better portion of his adolescent life inside the Los Angeles criminal justice system where he discovers the beginnings of a new family-the Bloods. Neon manages to slip under the radar of law enforcement while slowly building a loyal following, beginning with his cellmate. When he finally emerges from prison, Neon spawns one of the gravest epidemics of modern life: the curse of modern gang violence.

As the Bloods and the Crips begin a vicious rivalry like no other, another heartbreaking story is taking place behind the scenes as Neon's family suffers the devastating results that come from a young man's choices in a city that shows no mercy.”

One reader of First Blood said, "His descriptive words paint a vivid picture of a part of America's youth caught up in drugs and hatred, promulgated by a total lack of good parenting, lack of compassion by teachers, lack of direction and spiritual guidance. It is a road where taking the fork one way lands the kid in prison, or if he (she) chooses the other fork, he (she) ends up on a cold steel table in the Medical Examiner's autopsy room. JOHNNY RUSSELL's experience, both as a young man, who with the enduring love and guidance of his Mother, was one of the fortunate. Instead of spending time in prison as two of his brothers, he chose a career in Law Enforcement. As next to the youngest of nine children, he witnessed the pain and anguish his mother suffered from a philandering husband, whom she loved deeply, and then another man who broke her heart again. His mother was determined to raise her children to be good people, and she succeeded with Johnny Russell. His oldest brother, Neon was the founder of the "BLOODS" Gang in Los Angeles, later joined by another brother, RAP. As leaders of the "BLOODS", the brothers lead a fast paced life of dealing drugs, gang wars with another gang, the "CRIPS" and mulitple murders. This book is a facinating read, it jolts the reader into the truth about the vulnerability of todays youth in America who are at risk of falling into the vioence of gangs and drugs. I know that as a Police Officer, JOHNNY RUSSELL, without question made an impact and saved more than just one kid from following in his older brother's path of self-destruction.

I highly recommend this novel and hope Mr. Russell continues his new career as an Author. I would love to read about his career with the San Diego Police Department. In my opinion, Johnny Russell's debut novel is a MUST READ."

First Blood
Johnny Russell  More Info

About the San Diego Police Department

Prior to 1889, law enforcement in San Diego was handled by city marshals and constables. Between 1845 and 1850, the town was under military control. In 1850, the state senate drew up a charter providing for a five-man city council assisted by a marshal, an attorney, an assessor and a treasurer. The voters chose Agostin Haraszthy as both sheriff and marshal.

The frontier lawman was patrolman, detective, criminologist, jailor, process server, clerk and executioner. His first requirement was raw courage. Hedepended upon the gun on his hip to back up his orders. His first interest was in keeping alive and bringing the culprit to justice, dead or alive. In 1850, the council decided to build a town jail. Two bids were received, one from the Israel brothers for $3,000 and the other from Haraszthy for $5,000. Because Haraszthy's father was president of the council, Haraszthy got the contract -- bankrupting the city. Four hours after the first prisoner was incarcerated, he dug his way through the wall with a pocket knife.

The city eventually purchased a cage and put its first escape-proof jail in the Old Town Plaza. In 1871, the jail was moved to the location of the present county courthouse at Front and C Streets in new San Diego. The metropolitan San Diego Police Department was established May 16, 1889. On June 1 of that year, Joseph Coyne, the city marshal, was appointed the first chief of police. The first police uniform consisted of derby hats, coats with high collars and badges with seven-point stars. Chief Coyne was paid $125 a month, his officers $100 a month; they worked 12-hour days, seven days a week. In 1895 shifts were reduced to eight hours -- but salaries also dropped: $25 a month. Mounted patrolmen furnished their own horses, but did receive $100 a month for feed and care of their animals. The modern mounted patrol began in 1934 in Balboa Park. It was abolished in 1948, but was re-established in 1983 and remains active today.

Among other milestones: Harry Vandeberg was the first detective (1907); W. E. Hill was the department's first motorcycle officer (1909); the first traffic signal was installed around 1920 at Fifth Avenue and Broadway (it was manually controlled by an officer who stood in the center of the intersection); the crime lab was established in 1939; patrol cars got one-way radios in 1932, two-way radios four years later; and the first reserves appeared on the scene in 1942.The first police headquarters was in City Hall at Fifth Avenue and G Street. Several moves later, the department relocated at Dead Man's Point, named because of its use as a burial place for sailors and marines during the charting and surveying of San Diego Bay. The department remained there -- at 801 West market Street -- until 1987, when it moved into its current seven-story headquarters building at 1401 Broadway.


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