I have to admit, this is a surreal moment for me. Full disclosure: I never envisioned myself as an author. In my mind, I'm just a normal guy who had the opportunity to work as an undercover detective at a very young age. Sure, I've had friends and acquaintances tell me I should write about my career, my personal life, and my stint on reality television. But I wouldn't write a book just to talk about what I've accomplished. The only reason I would take the time to put my thoughts on paper was if I felt I had something important to contribute, something that could benefit other people. After all, that's why I originally got into law enforcement—to help others.
I can assure you that I don't do anything half-heartedly, so the fact that you're seeing my words on this page means that I do feel I have information that could be beneficial to you. About three years ago, I realized that my approach to interacting with people wasn't just who I was or "Derrick being Derrick." The totality of circumstances throughout my life has led me to become the person I am today. It's also the reason I evaluate and communicate with others in the way that I do. My specialized law-enforcement training and on-the-job experiences, coupled with social encounters outside of work, have created an effective approach to dealing with people that I use every day. Going undercover taught me how to define my goals, lead my team more effectively, and build confidence in my actions both in the rarest and in the more common everyday challenges. This isn't a single tactic or technique I employ. For me, it's a way of life.
So the question is, how do I teach you the same approach? Should I have you apply to the police academy? Become an undercover detective? Put you in life-threatening situations where the wrong choice of words could get you killed? No, I think I have a better idea, and it's a whole lot safer. In this book, I have taken my thirteen years of training and experience and condensed it into a series of lessons that will show you how I applied this knowledge to all aspects of my life.
I should probably explain who I am and what I bring to the table before we get down to business. When I was officially sworn in as a police officer, I was only twenty years old, making me one of the youngest in my department's history. As soon as I graduated from the police academy and started my career as a patrolman, my supervisors noticed that in addition to being young, I had a way with words, so I was recruited to work undercover.
I remember getting the call from the chief of police for my first operation. This is the top guy in any department and not someone a patrolman like myself usually hears from personally. It was the morning after my twenty-first birthday. Now, I'm not going to lie: I had a few celebratory drinks the night before, and I was a little under the weather. But as soon as I realized what he was asking me to do, I woke right up. Later that very day, I posed as a college student at a major university, and when it was all said and done, we made multiple arrests and seized a large amount of drugs.
After that experience, I was hooked. I knew I had found my calling. Undercover work came naturally to me, and I was able to adapt to most environments fairly easily. Over the years, I worked for multiple agencies, posing as a student, a drug dealer, a drug user, and several other characters.
You might be thinking, "Wow, that must have been a lot of fun." Well, in many ways it was, but when you get right down to what the job actually entailed—like finding yourself alone in a room with a bunch of criminals—it was also very dangerous. I risked being discovered by the people I was trying to build a case against, and in many instances, these were bad people with a lot to lose. So it goes without saying that I've been in some scary situations.
I'm excited for the opportunity to explain what I've learned during my time as a street cop, an undercover detective, and a sergeant. Very few people are aware of the information that investigators learn during the various schools we attend throughout our career. The purpose of this training is to keep us updated on the latest trends and techniques and how we can use them to our advantage. I'm convinced that once you obtain the knowledge I have gained during my training, you'll also enjoy many of the advantages it gave me both personally and professionally. The good news is that you're going to learn the same approach that I learned without exposing yourself to any of the life-threatening dangers that I faced—allowing you to reap the rewards without the risk.
Police work is a lot like human chess. Of course, it's not an actual game; it's serious stuff and can have some real consequences. But still, the analogy holds true. In The Undercover Edge, we're going to go over a lot of information that will help you understand where people are coming from and why they do the things they do. Some of this may also help you better understand yourself, and why 'you' do some of the things you do, which can assist in planning your next move.