REAL Miami Vice stories
REAL Miami Vice stories
Welcome to the website of Award-Winning Crime Author, Michael Berish. www.realmiamivice.com
“The world is full of stories, not atoms.”
I was born and raised on the banks of the Hudson River in Poughkeepsie:, New York; received an A.A. degree in Criminal Justice; graduated from the University of Pittsburgh on an academic scholarship with a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology; attended one year of law school; and later earned my Master of Arts degree in Communications from Miami's Barry University, where I took courses in Production, Directing, Screenplay Writing, etc.
"The entire life of a human being depends upon 'yes' or 'no' uttered two or three times between the ages of sixteen and twenty-five.”
After graduating from the University of Pittsburgh, I was hired by General Motors in Indiana and supervised 135 people at Delco-Remy which was the fifth largest division—at the time—out of forty-seven divisions in General Motors; there were over a dozen plants, all the size of airport hangers, and they employed over twenty-thousand people. After two years at G.M., I was burned out from the tedium, the noise of the factory, and an endless supply of regulators and under-the-hood parts (you could fill the ocean with them) that continuously circled the plant on an over-head pulley system, like a merry-go-round. I knew that I didn’t want to spend the rest of my life building and counting auto parts.
I had an older cousin who graduated from Cornell Law School, moved to Houston, Texas to practice criminal law, and champion the righteousness and sanctity of the law. I figured I’d try law school. I went back to New York and enrolled in law school.
One day, I was sitting in a criminal law class when the professor said to the class: Here is a recent Supreme Court decision; it’s only two days old. Now, I want you to read and brief it.
After the class finished the assignment, the professor said: Now, suppose a guy did this…this…and this (crafting an example that fit the circumstances of the recent case law). The object of his lesson was to figure out how a lawyer would get the criminal “off” instead of being found guilty. The criminal law professor was teaching us how to beat the law (just two days old); how to twist the facts around and make circumstances up to beat the case, the Constitution, and the very system we were supposed to be upholding. I thought to myself: it would be a much more rewarding life for me to put the bad guys in jail that deserved to be there, make the cases stick, and beat these high-priced attorneys—that law schools are churning out daily—at their own game.
After a year, I left law school (it was sort of a mutual decision), borrowed enough money from an uncle to fly to Daytona Beach, then hitchhiked to Miami—where I heard the police force was hiring.
I had $50.00 in my pocket and stayed at the YMCA for $7.00 a night.
I either walked or took a bus around town to take the entrance exams for the police academy, which were rigorous and took about four days. In addition to taking day-long mental and psychological tests, I was interviewed (or, was it interrogated) by the brass at M.P.D. as to my moral and ethical background; had to climb and eight-foot wall; swim, then dive to the bottom of a ten-foot pool and lift a life-size dummy off the bottom; in addition to running one-hundred yards in under twenty seconds. The running was no problem: I did it in 10.1 seconds (I had some experience in running as I played football, track and cross-country in high school and received a Major Letter in all three sports). Then, I had to take a polygraph exam. The technician tells you the questions before hand and asks you for a response, either “Yes,” or “No.” You now have time to ponder you’re responses, so when he asks you the same question—while your strapped to the polygraph machine—he’ll know if you’re lying or not. One of the pre-questions was whether I had ever smoked pot, or taken any other drugs. I answered, “No.” He was very skeptical of my response, since I went to college in the sixties during the era of Haight-Ashbury, mass protests and riots by college students against Viet-Nam, rebellion towards the government, free love and smoking pot. He warned me not to lie, as a lie would immediately disqualify me from being accepted on the department. I responded “No” to the drug question while on the machine. After the exam, he was amazed and said, “You were telling the truth! I found no deception when I asked you if you ever smoked pot, or took any other drugs.” My philosophy was—and always remained, unlike some cops on the department — that as a police officer you should set an example, not violate the laws that you were sworn to enforce—especially if you worked in Narcotics. I was hired and went to the six-month long police academy.
I worked my first "civil disturbance" as an academy recruit in 1972 during the Republican and Democratic presidential conventions that were both held in Miami that year. The next "civil disturbance" I worked resulted in eighteen deaths; I’d call that a full-blown race riot, not a "civil disturbance." That riot was in 1980; others followed in ’82, ’84, and ’89; and that was just the decade of the Eighties!
As a rookie, I was assigned to the Patrol section in “the Pit,” which is now the subject of many of my short stories.
Within one year, I made detective, went to S.I.S. (Special Investigation Section), and was assigned to Narcotics and Vice. Back in those days, you were subjected to an extensive background check—even though you were already a police officer—just to make sure your financial background was in order and you weren’t hanging about with unsavory characters, so that you wouldn’t be susceptible to bribes and corruption. Normally, an undercover detective in this unit is transferred after three years to make sure he isn’t tainted. I lasted almost fourteen years and left on my own accord. I had a professional and personality conflict with a supervisor that I preferred not to work for (Hey, it happens to all police officers on every department; no big deal); otherwise, I would have finished my career with twenty years in Vice; I loved it that much. In addition, when a detective makes rank (promoted from detective to sergeant), he is automatically transferred back to Patrol to gain experience there as a supervisor. This never happened to me. I went to my promotional ceremony, received my sergeant’s badge, went back upstairs to Narcotics and Vice and continued working just as before; only now I finally got some help, as detectives were assigned to assist me with the workload.
I became proficient as an expert in the field of obscenity; testified in front of the Meese Commission on Obscenity during the Reagan Administration; was subpoenaed by the F.B.I. to testify for them in New Orleans—as an expert witness—reference an interstate transportation case; lectured in front of numerous civic groups; taught week-long seminars to other law enforcement agencies on First Amendment rights; helped train new Assistant State Attorneys on how to properly conduct obscenity investigations; made over a thousand cases, mostly against organized crime syndicates, which have the best attorneys in the world; closed down twenty adult bookstores (I acquired the nickname of "the Peeper" because of all the "peep show" machines I confiscated out of these stores) and theaters in Miami and never lost one obscenity case.
I lived up to my promise when I left law school: I finally put the bad guys in jail that deserved to be there, made the cases stick, and beat these high-priced attorneys—that law schools were churning out daily—at their own game.
When a patrol officer is promoted to Narcotics, the first thing he does is grow a beard. No more strict dress code and rules. I was no exception. I quickly learned that the beard was more of a hindrance than a help, so I shaved it and went to a stubble look.
Prior to going into production, the producers of the TV series Miami Vice came to Miami to interview the REAL undercover vice cops, in order to make the series more realistic, as to what went on in both their profession and personal lives. I had a few days growth of stubble, and one of the producers asked me why. I said: “If you are clean-shaven and trying to buy dope in the ghetto, the bad guys won’t sell to you because you look like a cop. If you grow a beard, they won’t sell to you because that’s the first thing a cop from Patrol does when he hits Vice: grow a beard. But, if you only shave on your days off, then during the week let the stubble grow out, you’ll look like a heroin junkie that just crawled out of a garbage dumpster in need of a fix. In the series, the character that Don Johnson played, turns up with the stubble. Go figure.
“Berish’s real-life chases and arrests were no less exciting than ones on the show (Miami Vice),” said retired F.B.I. Special Agent Bill Kelly, in an interview with the Daytona News-Journal.
During my career, I was involved in barroom brawls, knife fights, and shoot-outs; survived high speed chases, cargo planes crashing in the streets, and over ten "civil disturbances"—as the City preferred to call them—most of which were due to differences between the various ethnic and cultural milieu within Miami a.k.a. the Magic City. I’ve been praised; got my fair share of commendations, citations, and ribbons; been persecuted and passed-over for promotions—several times—because of reverse discrimination; received several police awards, and when decked out in my uniform, I looked like a Russian ice skater.
While on the department, I started writing screenplays.
I had an agent in Hollywood who pitched my police script entitled: “INTOLERABLE,” which was read by both Clint Eastwood’s Production Company and Burt Reynolds’ Company. I also wrote a scathing screenplay entitled: “KILROY WAS HERE,” which was about the atrocities the Japanese committed against American P.O.W.’s in concentration camps, on the island of Japan, during World War II.
When I retired, I settled into writing several short stories, which were published in various magazines. These thirty stories were consolidated into an anthology of short stories entitled: “REFLECTIONS FROM THE PIT.” I also wrote two plays: "DEAF, DUMB AND BLIND" and "SAMPSON & LILA" I am also featured in another anthology entitled, “BAD COP, NO DONUT”
In addition, I’m working on a new novel entitled: “WHEN KINGS GO FORTH.” It’s not a cop book; it follows several generations of Hungarians (from 1849 to the present) and their trials and tribulations from Budapest to America.
I was a bachelor living on the Atlantic Ocean, on a barrier island off the coast of Florida with my two dogs. After 20 years on (Gillihan's Islamd; it felt like that) the island, I moved to Las Vegas where I currently live.
When not writing, I try to squeeze in some golf (not very successfully), play my guitars, while managing my two dogs: Dewey (a mixed terrier. rescue dog) & Gipper (a pure-bred, 115 pound white German Shepherd.
Welcome to the website of Award-Winning Crime Author, Michael Berish. www.realmiamivice.com
I worked as a patrolman, detective, and 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 I 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.
Bad things happen in "the Pit," a notorious crime-infested ghetto in downtown Miami. My experiences as a Miami police officer serve as fuel for these exciting, intense stories about life as a cop in a tough part of a big city.
"REFLECTIONS FROM THE PIT" pulls no punches; it shows you the good, the bad, and the ugly (warts and all); the dark side of police work, both the humor and the tragedy & covers more than one hundred years of Miami history. These police stories have been published in numerous national magazines and have won several writing awards.
"REFLECTIONS FROM THE PIT" was awarded BEST FICTION NOVEL by the Public Safety Writers Association.
If you are looking for politically or culturally correct stories, read no further; these tales are not meant to be. 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. This is not just another collection of rehashed police stories with shoot-outs, car chases, and damsels in distress.
I feel my approach to storytelling is unique in that all of these stories contain individual, quirky, off-center characters that 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, teenage prostitution, 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 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, the raping of the elderly, and police brutality and its senseless violence.When you finish reading “REFLECTIONS FROM THE PIT,” you’ll be wondering: "I never knew people like this, much less cops, ever existed!" It’s a story about modern day gladiators in an arena, much like ancient Rome’s, where the cops and the bad guys battle, sometimes to the death, in "the Pit."
"BAD COP, NO DONUT." This is an anthology by fifteen cops/writers (I happen to be fortunate enough to have been selected as one) from Miami to Maine, New York City to Los Angeles with stops in New Orleans, Montana and Maryland. It’s a walk on the dark side of police work: cops who partake in police brutality, murder, bribery, pay-off’s, bank robberies, pyromania, and laundering money. In this book you will find: Good cops gone bad, bad cops gone worse, police in the city, sheriffs on the hunt, cops on the beach, cops on the take, fights to the death, ninjas and nunchuckas, hookers and dealers, good guys and bad guys, and the Devil’s own cop. It’s a book you won’t easily forget.
Testimonials reference: "BAD COP, NO DONUT."
"Bad Cop, No Donut" includes some of the most riveting stories I have read to date. It's a top-notch crime fiction anthology." Donald Bain, author of the "Murder, She Wrote" series.
"A ride-around with some of the best cops and best cop writing in the business!" David Black, author of The Extinction Event and writer for CSI Miami and Law & Order.
"This collection is written by a squad of fine writers--some of whom are current or retired real-life cops. Gritty, hard-hitting, authentic, and edgy--and guaranteed to keep you turning the pages." Raymond Benson, author of the James Bond anthologies "The Union Trilogy" and "Choice of Weapons."
"Nobody writes about these guys. These are the cops we keep locked in the deepest, darkest precinct basements. Now they're out. And the reader is in for a rare treat in these wild, wonderful, and all too real, stories. It's about time." Lt. Ed Dee, NYPD (ret.), author of The Con Man's Daughter.
“Bad Cop, No Donut" is a fast paced journey through the darker side of law enforcement. Not only are the stories written by seasoned cops, but they are road-tested writers, as well. It is a page-turner in the classic sense - you really will be asking yourself 'what could possibly go sideways next? With this anthology you will make the trip in law enforcement from bad to worse, with an occasional side trip to redemption - well, almost.” Lt. Raymond E. Foster, LAPD (ret.), author of Leadership: Texas Hold ‘em Style.
"The Police Officer is a unique figure in literature, both hero and villain. 'Bad Cop...No Donut' is a collection of short stories focusing on the cop, and the many different routes they can go with their duty and power. Corruption that has already sank in, hunting criminals, life and death situations, and Satan himself are some of the themes used throughout. 'Bad Cop...No Donut' is a fun and very highly recommended read." 5 out of 5 stars. A fun and very highly recommended read. (June 11, 2010) By Midwest Book Review (Oregon, WI USA) that appeared on Amazon.com REVIEW
“Bad Cop, No Donut” edited by John L. French. Posted by Luke Forney on October 12, 2010 at 4:53 PM
NOTE: Bad Cop, No Donut was a free review copy provided to Luke Reviews by Dark Quest Books."I read some mystery and crime fiction on occasion, but not often, and not nearly as much as I would like. Especially rare are original crime anthologies. So, when I received Bad Cop, No Donut, I dove at the chance to explore some new crime stories from the darker side of the genre."What I found in Bad Cop, No Donut was a buffet of stories that were even better than expected. Editor John L. French’s “The Last Convention” was exciting from first word to last. C. J. Henderson’s “A Fine Officer” is up to his usual high standards as well."However, there were two that really took the cake. Patrick Thomas’ “Dysmayed” took the “bad cop” theme straight to Hell, literally, with the return of his series character of Hell’s Detective."The best of the batch, though, was the volume opener, James Chambers’ “Henkin’s Last Lies.” His characters felt perfectly real, the motivations true, and the plot twists were as believable as they were effective."Not to say that there was a truly bad story in the bunch. You would be hard-pressed to find a new anthology out there that has as high a level of quality as this one. So if you are a fan of the rough side of crime fiction, of cops gone wrong, and noir fiction, give Bad Cop, No Donut a shot.
"Subject: Review of Bad Cop . . . No Donut (10/24/10) published in Deadly Pleasures.
IT'S ABOUT CRIME by Marvin Lachman The Short Stop"Editors of anthologies are reaching far and wide to have different themes. Take BAD COP . . . NO DONUT (2010; trade paperback from Padwolf Publishing, WWW.PADWOLF. COM.) about police whom the editor John L. French admits are guilty of "conduct unbecoming," or activities that are downright dishonest.
There are 16 stories, 10 of which are published for the first time.
Two are Western mysteries, with Michael A. Black's "For Courage and Honor" about a shootout on the set of a silent film especially good. One story is even a science fiction crime story.
The best story in the book is French's 1998 story "The Last Convention" about bad behavior at a police convention. Plot and ending are both clever.
"Deadly Pleasures is a quarterly publication that is widely distributed and highly respected. Marvin Lachman has been reviewing short stories for over 20 years.
Below is a description of the 3 books I've written.
If you wish to purchase any of the 3 books, click on the buton on the top of this page entitled: "PURCHASE BOOKS" and it will lead you to links on Amazon and Barnes & Noble where you can purchase them.
1) I've written 3 books. "REFECTIONS FROM THE PIT." Bad things happen in "the Pit," a notorious crime-infested ghetto in downtown Miami. My experiences as a Miami police officer serve as fuel for these exciting, intense stories about life as a cop in a tough part of a big city.
"REFLECTIONS FROM THE PIT" pulls no punches; it shows you the good, the bad, and the ugly (warts and all); the dark side of police work, both the humor and the tragedy & covers more than one hundred years of Miami history.
2) My second book "MOMENT TOO MOMENT" was written under my pseudonym, D'Artagnan Bloodhawke. I did this because the book has nothing to do with police stories and stands on its own as a work of fiction. "MOMENT TO MOMENT" is a collection of moments from people's lives (seven short stories, two plays and sundry opinions), from the profound to the preposterous, inspired by a collection of curious characters, from the innate to the bizarre, and how each lives out the moments in their lives.
3) My third book. "BAD COP. NO DONUT" is a collection of short stories by various crime writers. In this book you will find: Good Cops gone bad; Bad Cops gone worse; Police in the city; Sheriffs on the hunt; Cops on the beach; Cops on the take; Fights to the death; Ninjas and nunchuckas; Hookers and dealers; Good guys and bad guys and the Devil's own cop. featuring the talents of: - James Chambers - Gary Lovisi - O'Neil De Noux - Quintin Peterson - C. J. Henderson - Michael A. Black - Ron Fortier - Patrick Thomas - Michael Berish - Vincent H. O'Neil - Austin S. Camacho - Wayne D. Dundee - John L. French - Art Monterastelli - James Grady
4) COMING SOON!!! I have a fourth book in the works entitled: "KINGS GO FORTH." It's the story of three brothers who flee the Hungarian War of Indepence of 1848 to America. It follows their exploits, through five generations, as they travel from New York City to Sante Fe, to Poughkeepsie, New York & back to New York City.
real police stories