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Author Elmore Leonard Created a U.S. Marshal Who Will Live On

 

Elmore Leonard signing 'Raylan' book, Jan. 2012/Photo by Alan Stamm

Alan Stamm
ticklethewire.com

 BIRMINGHAM, Mich. — Elmore Leonard, the acclaimed crime novelist who died Tuesday morning, imagined characters who behave and sound like believable law breakers and law enforcers.

His best-known plot stars include Raylan Givens, a deputy U.S. marshal on page and screen.

Leonard, who died at 87 in his suburban Detroit home from complications of a stroke he suffered a few weeks back,  was working on a book called “Blue Dreams” that would have been his 46th. “He was going to bring the character Raylan Givens into it,” son Peter Leonard tells Susan Whitall of The Detroit News.

Leonard introduced that federal marshal in “Pronto,” a 1993 book, and brought him back two years later in “Riding the Rap” and in a 60-page novella issued in 2011 as “Fire in the Hole.”

In “Justified,” a FX cable series that began in 2010 and returns next January, Timothy Olyphant portrays the tough lawman enforcing a beyond-regulations style of justice in eastern Kentucky’s hill country around Harlan.

When a real-life parole violator was arrested there last March, one headline said: Life Imitates Art, ‘Justified’ Edition: U.S. Marshals Hunt Down Fugitive in Harlan County.

But how closely does Leonard’s fictional marshal resemble the real deal?

In an effort to find out, a Cleveland Plain Dealer reporter last year watched the show’s pilot episode with second-generation Deputy U.S. Marshal Pete Elliott, who joined the service in 1987 and has been U.S. marshal for the Northern District of Ohio since 2003.

Until local journalist Mark Dawidziak popped in a DVD at Elliott’s federal courthouse office, he hadn’t seen “the heroic deputy marshal created by esteemed novelist and screenwriter Elmore Leonard.”

The actual badge-wearer admired the pilot’s realistic setup, which had Given assigned to Lexington, Ky., and being told he’d take on all kinds of assignments.

“Small offices tend to have less manpower, so that would be the case,” he says. “In a smaller office, a deputy marshal could be asked to do a little bit of everything: working warrants, prisoner transportation, witness relocation, fugitive task force. And it’s not uncommon for someone to be assigned to an area where they grew up. We’re one of the law enforcement agencies that will do that. And I think that’s a good thing.”

Elliott also was impressed by an offhand mention of Glynco, commenting: “That’s our training academy in Georgia. That’s right. Somebody did some research.”

Timothy Olyphant as Raylan Givens in "Justified"

Similarly, he gave a thumb-up to actor Olyphant’s generally casual wardrobe:

“You dress appropriately for court, but, if you’re apprehending fugitives and jumping fences, you’re in jeans.”

But overall, the Cleveland marshal found more unrealistic touches than accurate ones – starting with Givens’ frequent weapon use.

“I’ve never had to fire my gun in the line of duty. It does happen, of course, but every time a weapon is discharged, reports need to be filled out. With the amount of gunfire in this show, Raylan would be up to his ying-yang in paperwork. That’s all he’d be doing. . . .

“I know they want him to be a Lone Ranger type of hero with a lot of Clint Eastwood and John Wayne stuff. It’s not a bad show. It’s just not very representative of what we do.”

Raylan Givens’ creator was a show consultant, though dramatic script flourishes aren’t his.

The vivid characters and crackling dialogue Elmore Leonard put between book covers seemed so real that criminals “write to me and want to know if I’ve done time,” the author told Vice magazine in 2009.

That level of realism flowed partly from reading and other research, and mainly from an imaginative talent that assures his work will endure.

 

FBI Trains Local Police How to Respond to Mass Shootings

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Every split second counts in a mass shooting.

So the FBI, acting on a White House directive following a school shooting last year, is training local police how to handle a mass shooting, ABC News reports.

The idea is to establish a standardized strategy to respond to shootings.

Apart from the tactical drills, FBI officials are urging local police to call feds for extra manpower.

Father of Man Killed by FBI Speaks Out About Details of Shooting

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

FBI: Fake Bomb Was Left On Bus for People with Disabilities in St. Louis

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

Everything about it looked real.

It even spooked authorities, who believed at first they may have found an improvised explosive device on a bus that serves people with disabilities in St. Louis, KCTV 5 News reports.

Turns out, the device was fake but was made to look real to scare people.

“The package in question was intended to look like a hoax device,” FBI spokeswoman Bridget Patton said. “It is an ongoing investigation. We did respond with a significant resources with an abundance of caution because this is a threat taken very seriously by law enforcement.”

Man Claims to Have Original Wire Taps Used on Mobster James ‘Whitey’ Bulger

Whitey Bulger/fbi

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

John Reznikoff wants a hefty price – nearly $4,000 – on eBay for some circuit boards, wires and digital cards.

Then again, they aren’t just any computer scraps, the Connecticut resident claims.

UPI.com reports that Reznikoff bought the equipment for $500 from the president of a Boston electronics recycling company, where a pallet showed up marked, “Bulger Phone Switch.”

“It came from a government agency in Boston,” the man told Reznikoff, reported UPI.com.

Now Reznikoff is asking nearly $4,000 for the equipment on eBay.

FBI officials have expressed doubt that Reznikoff has legitimate surveillance equipment from the Bulger case.

Ray Kelly, Fierce Supporter of New York’s Stop-And-Frisk Policy, Still Mum on Homeland Security Post

NYPD Commissioner Kelly

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

Is New York City Police Commissioner Ray Kelly in line for the top Homeland Security post?

Kelly said he’s spent time in Washington D.C., but added Sunday, “I know it’s wise to keep my mouth shut at this time,” Kelly told CBS’s “Face the Nation.”

But pressure is building against Kelly, whose controversial stop-and-frisk policy was struck down by a court as unconstitutional, The Hill reports.

Still, President Obama doesn’t seem to be bothered by Kelly’s fiery defense of stop-and-frisk.

“Mr. Kelly might be very happy where he is, but if he’s not, I’d want to know about it because obviously, he’d be very well-qualified for the job,” Obama said last month.

 

Guns, Body Armor, Night Vision Equipment Stolen from FBI’s Agent’s Car

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

An FBI agent made an unsettling discovery outside of his North Carolina residence earlier this month: Someone broke into his car overnight and stole an M-16, shotgun, night vision equipment and body armor.

Now the Charlotte FBI office is offering up to a $5,000 reward leading to the recovery of the stolen guns, which can be very dangerous in the wrong hands, the Charlotte Observer reports.

One of the guns was a Colt M-16; the other was a Remington 870 shotgun with pistol grip.

Anyone with information is asked to call the FBI Charlotte office at 704-672-6700.

Retired FBI Agent Greg Stejskal Will Talk to U-M Football Team About Gambling

Greg Stejskal served as an FBI agent for 31 years and retired as resident agent in charge of the Ann Arbor office.

The author (right) Greg Stejksal and late Michigan coach Bo Schembechler

 
By Greg Stejskal
ticklethewire.com
In 1982, legendary Michigan football coach Bo Schembechler asked the Ann Arbor, Mich., FBI office to talk to his team about the perils of illegal sports gambling.

The senior resident agent, Tom Love, agreed to make the presentation. Love, knowing I had played college football at Nebraska (read: mostly practiced), asked me to help. We explained that sports gambling is not about who wins but about covering the point spread. That gamblers need to get inside information as an edge to better divine how a team will perform and, the Holy Grail of bookmakers, have a cooperating player or referee with the ability to control the point spread: point shaving.

Sports gambling was and is a potential threat to the integrity of sports. The huge amount of money bet illegally in the United States, estimated at more than $300 billion, is an incentive to control the outcome of a game.

When I started making presentations, Michigan’s football team was housed in a relatively small, one-story building. Michigan’s transition to the state-of-the-art facilities it has today is emblematic of the change in Division I football in the past 30 years. In those days, college teams such as Michigan might be on TV once or twice a year. Now, a dedicated fan or gambler can watch just about any game played anywhere in the country. With the increase in TV coverage, sports gambling also has increased. And with the advent of the Internet, gamblers have access to more current information and can place bets online.

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