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Joseph L. Phillips

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Joseph Les Phillips was born in the Bronx, NY. After graduating from high school, he served in the Navy during the Vietnam War. Upon separation, he worked at the NYS Maritime College aboard their training ship the Empire State IV. At night he attended the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in Manhattan studying acting but abandoned that career when the NYPD called and he became a police officer. In 1975, he appeared briefly in the film Three Days Of The Condor with Robert Redford. Later, he was also personal security for many celebrities including Al Pacino, Robert DiNiro, Richard Gere, Richard Burton, David Bowie, Richard Harris, Jason Robards and Farrah Fawcwett during her run in the controversial play Extremities. Finally giving in to a long held desire to write, he published his first novel, the middle book of The Springfield Trilogy, Beyond This Place Of Sin And Tears in 1987. In 2000 his second novel, The Soldiers Of Summer was published. He has also written numerous short stories that have been published in print and online magazines. His screenplay, Rum Key, was also a semifinalist in the Texas Film Institute's Screenplay Competition a few years ago. Chronologically the final book of the Trilogy, This Side Of Forever, was published in July 2006. The chronological beginning of the Trilogy, Drawn To Near Waters, is searching for a publisher. Phillips retired in 1989 from the Midtown North Theater Detail of the NYPD to write full time.

According to an interview by Sandra S. Sawyer, “Many of his story ideas are from episodes in his own life. Joseph told Sandra that "I had the fortune during my youth to have been halfway around the world by the time I was nineteen years old, thanks to the U.S. Navy. I also lived on the French Riviera for two years, which inspired me to write my first novel, Beyond This Place of Sin and Tears. After that, I spent two years in the Merchant Marine and then twenty years with the New York Police Department. If that background doesn't give you material to write about, nothing will."  His other novels are: The Soldiers of Summer and This Side of Forever.

According to the book description of The Soldiers of Summer, “Set in 1978, Mr. Phillips novel deals with a group of New York City police officers doing their annual two-week summer camp with the Army Reserve. What they believe will be a "vacation" for them away from the mean streets of New York turns into a nightmare for them. They are made to undergo forced marches and simulated battle conditions that keep them up most of the night, while still having to rise at the crack of dawn for their scheduled work day. Unknown to them, their commanding officer, passed over for promotion during the Vietnam War, is desperate now and will do anything that is necessary to achieve that promotion even if it is detrimental to his company's health.


To deal with these adverse conditions, they band together in a show of unity and strength, even nicknaming their bivouac area "Whiskey Hill", as a sign of protest to send the message that they are separate from the order and discipline their near psychotic Captain is trying to force upon them. But along with those ordeals, each man must face bitter memories from the past failures of their personal lives and the nagging ghosts that still haunt them from the recently concluded Vietnam War. In order to do this, they find a false solace in whiskey that often leads to some comedic situations on and off the base.

But in the end, their expertise as police officers is needed when their Captain's mind finally snaps and he holds a Division Colonel hostage at gunpoint. With no one else readily available, they are asked to somehow free the Colonel, but adding to the pressure, a Special Forces sniper sits on an adjoining rooftop with a rifle and a scope waiting to resolve the crisis his way if it becomes necessary.

The Soldiers of Summer
Joseph L. Phillips  More Info

This Side of Forever
Joseph Les Phillips  More Info
Beyond This Place of Sin and Tears
Lester Joseph Phillips  More Info

According to the book description of This Side of Forever, it “begins in 1975, one year after the untimely death of protagonist Robert Hadley’s wife in an airplane crash. Her death has devastated Robert, rendering him unable to stay in Villefranche, Sur-Mer, on the French Riviera, where they had spent many happy years. He returns to the life he once knew as a Navy and Merchant Marine sailor, beginning a nomadic journey of rediscovery. When his wanderings take him back to New York, he decides to try to build a new life on land. He meets up with an old shipmate from the Navy, a retired cop named Desmond Molloy, who owns a very popular midtown Manhattan bar with his wife, Chandler. Along the way, Robert meets a plethora of fascinating street characters. There’s even a chance at new love when Robert meets Cora Hollis. But all of that comes to a halt when one night in an after-hours club an attempt is made on his life.”

About the New York Police Department (NYPD):

The first law-enforcement officer began to patrol the trails and paths of New York City when it was known as New Amsterdam, and was a Dutch settlement and fort in the year 1625. This lawman was known as a "Schout – fiscal" (sheriff – attorney) and was charged with keeping the peace, settling minor disputes, and warning colonists if fires broke out at night. The first Schout was a man named Johann Lampo.


The Rattle Watch was a group of colonists during the Dutch era (1609 - 1664) who patrolled from sunset until dawn. They carried weapons, lanterns and wooden rattles (that are similar to the ratchet noisemakers used during New Year celebrations). The rattles made a very loud, distinctive sound and were used to warn farmers and colonists of threatening situations. Upon hearing this sound, the colonists would rally to defend themselves or form bucket-brigades to put out fires. The rattles were used because whistles had not yet been invented. The Rattle Watchmen also are believed to have carried lanterns that had green glass inserts. This was to help identify them while they were on patrol at night (as there were no streetlights at that time). When they returned to their Watch House from patrol, they hung their lantern on a hook by the front door to show that the Watchman was present in the Watch House. Today, green lights are still hung outside the entrances of Police Precincts as a symbol that the "Watch" is present and vigilant.


When the High Constable of New York City, Jacob Hays retired from service in 1844, permission was granted by the Governor of the state to the Mayor of the City to create a Police Department. A force of approximately 800 men under the first Chief of Police, George W. Matsell, began to patrol the City in July of 1845. They wore badges that had an eight-pointed star (representing the first 8 paid members of the old Watch during Dutch times). The badges had the seal of the City in their center and were made of stamped copper.





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