Michael Berish worked as a patrolman,
a detective, and as a supervisor with the City of Miami Police Department for twenty-two years; thirteen of which were spent
as an undercover detective in the REAL Miami Vice where he worked everything from Narcotics & Vice, Prostitution, Gambling
and Pornography, to Dignitary Protection of President Jose Napoleon Duarte (of El Salvador) and Pope John Paul II.
His police stories have been published in several national magazines and won several writing awards. Michael
Berish is the author of Reflections from the Pit.
According to the book description of Reflections from
the Pit, “Bad things happen in the Pit, a notorious crime-infested ghetto in downtown Miami. Michael Berish's
experiences as a Miami policeman for twenty-two years serve as fuel for these exciting, intense stories about life as a cop
in a tough part of a big city. There are 8 million stories in the Pit!
In the Seventies, Berish
was a City of Miami police officer riding in the Pit, the Black ghetto in downtown Miami, and whenever one of those cycle
of events that staggers you back onto your heels would happen, he'd turn to his partner and say: There are eight million
stories in the Naked City; this has been one of them. Later in his career, he revised that adage to: There are eight million
stories in the Pit; this has been one of them. He was never sure if any of his partners knew exactly what he was referring
to (reference the movie or TV series), but they sure knew what he meant. What follows is a peek into that human swamp, into
several of those eight million stories.
Reflections from the Pit's approach
to storytelling is unique in that all of these stories contain individual, quirky, off-center characters and focus on their
basic character flaws while dealing with the social issues of the day. They are meant to be snapshots into the dark side of
police work and deal with segregation, racism, sexism, prejudice, teenage prostitution, police brutality and its senseless
violence, crazies who think they have been abducted by aliens, the murdering of transvestites, the lack of compassion and
sympathy by the younger generation for their elders, the injustice and ineptitude of the legal system, the stupidity of criminals
and the cowardice of police officers in the face of danger (the latter of which is rarely seen on TV), hangings from police
cruisers, affirmative action, Cuban freedom fighters a.k.a. terrorists, the callousness of society towards the homeless, drug-dealing
cops and corruption, bungled police stings, the don t get involved syndrome and the raping of the elderly.
Some of these contes, or
reflections, might amaze you; others may horrify you; several might amuse, while still others might impinge upon your inner
emotions; and a few deal with such baser instincts as corruption, which the Magic City has a long history of: one of the earlier
Chiefs of Police was indicted for first-degree murder.
If you are looking for politically or culturally correct stories,
read no farther; these tales may not be to your liking; in fact, some stories are openly racist and sexist in nature, which
is exactly what a police department is at times: a racist, sexist, prejudicial, homophobic, bureaucratic institution where
brutality of all forms and every description (physically and mentally) and injustice abound.
These reflections, which cover
more than one hundred years of history, give one pause for thought and a peek into the human swamp of life with Berish using
his intimate knowledge of the Pit to bring these Miami cop stories alive.”
About the Miami
In 1896 the City of Miami was incorporated and elected their first law enforcement
official, a town marshal. In 1907, the office of town marshal was abandoned in favor of creating a police
department and the Miami Police Department was formed. Today, The Miami Police Department is a full service
law enforcement agency which consists of over 1000 sworn police officers and over 350 civilian police employees.
The Miami Police Department is organized into four large divisions: Field Operations Division; Internal Affairs Division;
Criminal Investigations Division; and, Administration Division.
According to the Miami Police Department,
“The most visible component of the Department is the Field Operations Division which is responsible for the day-to-day
delivery of police services within the City of Miami. These are the uniformed men and women that patrol
the City's neighborhoods, engage in community policing projects, support various community involvement programs, and provide
the nucleus for the specialized cadres that augment the patrol force within the Department.
The Criminal Investigations Division
is the investigative arm of the Department. The highly trained and experienced professionals that comprise
this Division focus on a wide range of criminal activities within the City of Miami. Their expertise in
a variety of police science disciplines enables them to skillfully investigate crime and apprehend offenders.
Division performs the administrative and logistical functions that are crucial to the continued effective operations of the
Department. A dedicated staff of both civilian and sworn personnel, the members of this Division ensure
that the Department has the appropriate resources, including budget, manpower, communications, data systems, records, and
equipment to support the overall law enforcement efforts of the Department.”