Lynn Hesse Interview

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MARY RIDDLE: This is Mary Riddle, continuing the interview of Lynn Hesse, and it's February the second, 2012. Lynn, I think when you and Janet left off, y’all were talking about the period of time when you were working for DeKalb County.

LYNN HESSE: Okay.

RIDDLE: Specifically, about the lawsuit, what do you think the lawsuit accomplished?

HESSE: Well, it opened the door for women to be promoted. We had never had a woman be a sergeant. The women had not been on the street very long, and they had started in -- the criminal investigation division in the youth and sex crime 1:00area, so they were using them -- you know, that’s kind of considered a female venue, so that’s where they had started out, and then about a year before I went into the Academy in ’80, they had put them on the street, so when the -- back in those days, you know, you actually took a test and you were -- it was done speci-- you know, by grades, so, you know, if you made 100 you were the top candidate, and so the women that were eligible to take the test at that time -- there was -- they took it, and they were all within the first 15, and they skipped every one of them, which they weren’t supposed to --

RIDDLE: Promoted other people.

HESSE: Yes, they just promoted the men and just ignored that they were in that group, so I remember meeting with them. You know, they had talked to a lot of the women, and there was very few women then, but the women that were there were 2:00not interested in backing them, and I had not taken the test, and I was still -- I still had just a few years, and I didn’t -- I think I was eligible, but didn’t take it, but anyway -- and, so they -- we decided that they were going to go talk to the director and asked, in a nice way, to be promoted, and they did, and they were told, “Well, we’re not going to promote you. You can sue us if you want, but, you know, this is going to take lots of money and time, and that’s fine,” [laughing] and so they knew we had -- I mean, I guess they thought we would drop it because we didn’t have any resources, and so we decided we would do fundraisers and chip in some of our own money and that we 3:00would get a lawyer, and so Marsha Cofield, who is one of the women who was up for promotion, and she was very, very articulate and she -- I believe she is the one that came up with a lawyer, and it escapes me right now, but it’s in the papers. She was a well-known --

RIDDLE: Mary Ann Oakley.

HESSE: Yes, Mary Ann Oakley, and so I went up there with them for the first initial meeting, and she told us, you know, what kind of money we were going to have to come up with, and we basically just, you know, took it from day to day, raised the money, and I think with the lawsuit, we tried to get it as a class action suit, and we could not get the other women on board. They were petrified of -- by the time that came up, they had already done their propaganda, and they 4:00had said that the women -- none of the women were eligible, they -- you know, they had, you know, put that rumor out there, and it had become truth that the woman had -- the women just wanted to be promoted because they were women and that they were not within the group of the higher scores, and that, you know, then they got personal and started damaging reputations and who had slept with who --

RIDDLE: Oh.

HESSE: All of that. It got really dirty, and a lot of the newer women who had come on just believed the rumors, you know. They didn’t check it out, and even at the general meeting where we tried to dispel those rumors, there was just nobody -- there was me and one other women, Jenny [Belbo?] -- her last name was Belbo at the time, I think it’s Duncan now -- who said, “Well, we’re” -- you know, we were a little bit older than most of the other women and the younger women that had just come on, and we said, “Well, we know this 5:00is important, and so even if it’s not going to be class action, we’re going to try to make sure these women get promoted,” so we did hot dog, you know, things in the middle of Decatur. We sold hot dogs, we did all those [laughs] things, but anyway, we raised the money, and I think what it did is it helped -- it helped in getting them some, you now, and health issues with the women -- I think that was one of the things was that we wanted the Family Medical Leave Act to be honored, and, of course, once you have three women or four women promoted, then, you know, that gives them the right to take the next test and opens it up for the other women, so I felt good about it, even though I was -- I am at this point concerned at the present political climate that, you know, we could go backwards.

RIDDLE: Oh.

6:00

HESSE: [laughs] Because there’s -- because it wasn't class action -- that the women may have to fight again, you know, in the next 10 years if it becomes very conservative in this country. We’re losing a lot of our rights, so I don’t know. I’m a little concerned, but...

RIDDLE: It’s awful to have to do it all over again.

HESSE: Isn’t it? The idea is just -- it’s very sad to me, but maybe not -- hopefully not.

RIDDLE: So your promotion was not at issue, but you thought it was important to help the --

HESSE: Absolutely. Yeah. Well, I knew eventually -- I mean, it wasn’t altruistic, you know, totally because I knew eventually I was going to more than likely take the test, but there was a -- you know, there was a self-confidence issue in the beginning for me. You know, I had to convince myself -- I mean, it was one thing to say, you know, “I’ll help these women who I know are strong and blah blah blah.” It was another to get rid of all the scripts and to, you 7:00know, not hear all that was being said to me every day when I went in to work, so that I would go ahead and take the test and persevere, but, you know, it took a while.

RIDDLE: How long -- this lawsuit was settled, is that right?

HESSE: Yeah.

RIDDLE: And how long did that take? Do you remember?

HESSE: I want to say it took -- I can’t remember if it was ’86 or ’89. It took a while. I want to say six -- six years at least.

RIDDLE: Oh, yeah.

HESSE: I’m sorry, but I don’t have -- I had the paperwork before, but I gave it to Janet, so I don’t have it now. [laughing]

RIDDLE: Well, so when did you apply for promotion?

HESSE: Well, I had been on the street a very long time, and I -- they wouldn’t let me in the criminal investigation division -- that’s another thing they do 8:00is -- it’s considered a lateral promotion, but it -- you know, if you don’t -- if -- but it is also one of those carrots they hold out, you know, if you’re one of the boys, so I really had a hard time, and finally there was an opening in the traffic specialist division, and so that was offered to me, and -- I mean, I competed for it, and I got that one. All of my -- you know, all of my evaluations and -- were -- they were not bad, but they weren’t top notch. That was another thing that they did is that they had a very antiquated evaluation system, it was very subjective, they didn’t have to put any reasons on it, you know, and I had been working Southside, which is the high crime area, 9:00for most of my career, and one of the last evaluations I got before I went into traffic specialist division -- I mean, it took me that long, so it would’ve been probably eight years of service. You know, this is how long it took me to stand up to the other -- the -- you know, the captains and so on. The gave a low -- they gave me a medio-- what they would do is if you got a -- say it was one through ten, and you got a five. That was considered average, okay, but on the -- [for?] everybody knew that was average, and you could never get any promotions, but on the sheet, it said it was, you know, above average. Okay, so there was this -- what you had -- you had to make a seven or you’d never get promoted, but, you know, they tell you that it was an okay eval when they came in front of you, like you were so stupid, right? So I got one of these evals, 10:00and I was very experienced, I was very good at my job, I was handling lots of calls a day -- more than my share -- and had proven myself time and time again, and I finally -- I said, “You know, this is not going to cut it. They’re going to tell me, ‘Why?’ Because I can show -- I can show with my [inaudible].” That was another thing, I kept my PO sheets. We have to -- every time you do a call, a pull over, or anything, you document it, and those sheets are used on your evaluations, of course, so I had got finally smart enough within about -- I think about the third year of being on the street, I just -- I realized that they were not crediting with the work that I did, so I kept my PO sheet -- I copied all my PO sheets, so I could prove what I had done, 11:00and I made -- you know, I said, “Well, I want to talk to the” -- the lieutenant told me -- my sergeant told me that the lieutenant had told him he had to give me those grades and those marks, and so I went in and I said, “Okay, now this is what I’ve been doing, and I’ve been doing this for years, and I would like to know what it is that you expect to get more than a five because I certainly haven’t seen it on the street for anybody else, and I know they’re getting higher marks than this.” “Well, I don’t know what the problem is. I didn’t tell him to do this.” I said, “Yes, you did.”

RIDDLE: Oh, you were just ready.

HESSE: I was ready. I was over it. I said, “Yes, you did, and unless you can tell me exactly why, you better redo this eval,” and they never redid evals -- ever -- they just didn’t do it. I said, “You need to redo this eval because I’m not taking it this time. I’m not taking it on the chin this time. This 12:00is over. Y’all are not treating me like this anymore,” you know, [that?] kind of thing. Of course, this particular lieutenant eventually, you know, got back at me, but that’s Okay. I got the eval, and I think it was because of those evals -- you know, you had to have certain evals to even think about taking the next test, and they also kept you back because they had certain certificates that you were supposed to earn --

RIDDLE: Is that --

HESSE: -- through training, and, you know, just like any professional person, you have certain -- you know, you’re expected to have completed these within a certain time frame to be promoted, and they would tell you that you couldn’t go to training -- that they couldn’t spare you, and you could go next time, but, you know, you can’t go now.

RIDDLE: And then next time they’d tell you the same.

HESSE: Exactly. Well, this had been happening for years and years. In fact, I 13:00didn’t have all my certificates, and I was up for lieutenant, and I had to fight it. The only way I got that was they had sent -- there was a black male that had not had half the service time that I had had, but he was on the fast track. They were pushing him along and grooming him, and so they were sending him to all of these advanced certificate classes, and I was the one stuck, you know, being out there on the field as one sergeant for the whole Southside on a shift, [laughs] so I knew -- because he was working with directly -- I knew what they were doing, so finally, I went in and I said, “Okay. Well, you okay’d this for him, but you didn’t okay that for me, and you also know that if I don’t get this advanced certificate, I can’t -- you know, I have no chance to make lieutenant when I take the test. I can take the test, but I’ll not 14:00make -- I will not make it,” and I -- so I -- I’m tell-- you know, again, I had to say, “You will send me. You will work this out, and you will send me because you sent him. You’re going to send me because I’ve got” -- you know; I think I had five more years of service than he did or something.

RIDDLE: Oh, he was on the fast track.

HESSE: Oh yeah. Oh yeah. Big time, and so they had to -- but, you know, I had to fight. This is what, you know, my point is, and I was not the only woman, I’m sure, but I’m sure, but I’m just saying I personally had to fight for everything I got.

RIDDLE: So you got promoted to sergeant after about eight years?

HESSE: Well, I had been in the field, and then I got two years as the traffic specialist unit person, which is an investigator. We do all -- you know, I mean, when you do a fatality on the road, it’s just like working a murder scene, so I worked that for two years and took the test and came out of there as 15:00a sergeant, and they put me back Southside, which was fine with me, and, you know, worked as a sergeant for another, like, you know, eight or nine years, I guess, before I made lieutenant, so, you know, I went through like the Desert Storm, Gulf Wa-- the Gulf, you know, Gulf War and all that because -- you know, and what we do is we show, because of military service, about half my guys and gals were in the reserves, and so when a war like that comes up, half of your people are gone, but you still carry them on the roster, and you have to do as much as you would if you had them there. They don’t hi-- they’re not going to hire anybody to replace those people.

RIDDLE: Because they’re coming back.

HESSE: Right. So for all those years, you know, the stats and all the calls are supposed to get answered just like they would if you had those five more people 16:00or six more people on your watch. [laughs] So a lot of people don’t know that. They would be scared to death to know how few people they have on -- but, yeah -- I mean, because it shows on the roster, and if they say, “Well, how many police officers do you have,” they give him -- they give you who they have on the roster. They don’t tell you, “Oh, but we only have half of those people who are actually on the street.”

RIDDLE: That is frightening as Dekalb County resident.

HESSE: Yes. [laughing]

RIDDLE: And how long did you serve as lieutenant?

HESSE: I was lieutenant about a little over three years, and I really -- I was really good at administration, but I didn’t like it, and I really am more of a one-on-one kind of gal, and I didn’t like the captains and the majors telling me that I had to -- I’m going to use a nice word instead of the word we would 17:00use on the street -- mess with the people below me. [laughing] Okay. You know, they would do things like -- one of the things that I had really fought for because I had been -- you know, I had definitely been mistreated, so I was not going to mistreat anybody. If you had a discipline problem, then it should be documented in the correct way. We should try to get you help, we should retrain you if we need to, you should be very aware by the time I tell you that we no longer need you, you should be very aware of why.

RIDDLE: No surprise.

HESSE: No surprise. I mean, you may act surprised, but you’re not really surprised. If you were dealing with me, you knew exactly what you were going to get on that evaluation before you got it because I would have talked to you several times. I would have documented everything. You would have had that paperwork given to you. Okay. There’s a lot of mental health issues with 18:00police officers. They have domestics, they drink too much, they -- you know, they get into fights. They do a lot of things that -- they’re just like anybody else, you know, in a high pressure job. They do things they should not do, and -- but it’s not kosher to get any help.

RIDDLE: Oh, the macho bullshit.

HESSE: So I also tried to help guys that I knew -- guys and gals -- that I knew were in situations where they didn’t have the skills -- the coping skills -- to do it. We had zero mental health facilities available to us when I started. There was Derwin Brown, who you -- that name may be familiar to you. He was shot and killed in his --

RIDDLE: Right.

HESSE: -- driveway when he was trying to become sheriff. He had just become 19:00sheriff, but he -- when he was a sergeant, he was -- he and a couple of other women and myself -- officers -- backed him, and he was instrumental with our help to get peer counseling, and once we got peer counseling, we got the mental health set up where people could go for 18 visits, you know, whether -- for whatever reason, and it was confidential. That was the big thing. They didn’t want the administration knowing what their problems were -- used against them. If there was a shooting or something, they didn’t want them pulling those records, and using it against them, and I understood that, but these guys and gals needed help big time, and, you know, you’ve got guys on morning watch -- they work 11 to seven in the morning -- their wife works a day job, you know, they might see her once a week, they’re working extra jobs because they don’t make enough money, so they’re working one, two, three 20:00extra jobs a week, and then, you know, they become accustomed to that money, and they have to have that money to pay their bills. I had a situation with a female officer who happened to be lesbian, and she had a real acceptance among the guys because she was real tough talking and so on, and she had got in -- she had gotten herself into several fights where she had gotten hurt and had a head injury and came back too soon, and she was working for me, and she was hooked on pain pills, and she was also -- you know, she also had -- I mean, I’m not an authority on PTSD, but she had that kind of problem, too, and everybody ignored 21:00it because somehow she kept doing okay on the street, but she was taking more and more risks where she was going to get hurt, shot, whatever, and I knew it because I was her sergeant, and I kept trying to get her help, and one day she couldn’t get in the patrol car. She couldn’t leave [what we call with the cars?] -- we call the area that we keep the cars “The Bullpen” -- I did not name it “The Bullpen.” They named it “The Bullpen.” I got in trouble one time for saying, “Bullpen,” but that is not a term that I came up with, so she couldn’t get in the vehicle -- the patrol car -- and leave, and she came to me and she said, “I can’t make myself get in the vehicle, and -- you know, give me a few minutes,” kind of thing. So there was two separate incidents -- obvious, you know, behavioral -- you know, obvious things where she 22:00shouldn’t have been out there, and I took her to my lieutenant and I said, “You know, she needs to go and get some counseling. We need to let her have some days off. Maybe she can just take some vacation time, you know, but I really want to refer her,” and they would say, “No.” Two times they did that.

RIDDLE: Oh dear.

HESSE: Okay, and then she would come to me as a peer counselor and tell me things that, of course, had to be held in confidence, so eventually, for -- you know, for her benefit as well as mine, she eventually -- she quit and she went back to nursing, which, you know, God help the people she was helping in the nursing field, but there was about a year there where I didn’t know whether she was going to commit suicide, whether she was going to get herself killed -- 23:00you know, just deliberately run into a gun fight or what was going to happen with her. She was very unstable, and they would not get her any help.

RIDDLE: Oh dear.

HESSE: Because you can say, “You have to go -- you know, you have to go get help,” and, you know, you can test -- if you think somebody is on drugs, you can have them tested, and you can make them go into counseling, but -- and rehab, but anyway, there is all sorts of situations like that. We also had a mental health unit that had been running without any supervision. They had an MPO, which is a master patrol officer, very intelligent woman, but she had no supervision, and what that unit entailed -- the mobile crisis unit -- was a unit where you had one police officer and one nurse who would go out and deal with all the demented people -- what we call 22s -- signal 22s -- people who are on 24:00meds who, if they don’t take their meds, they [decamp?] and then, you know, we get calls. So to help resist -- you know, repeat calls, to break those down -- and, of course, these people also do dangerous things. You know, they commit all sorts of petty crimes, as well as sometimes they go off the deep end and they hurt someone and -- or hurt themselves, so with the nurse, we would take her, and she would make sure that they were on their meds or whatever, but then you get into also legal problems because she’s carrying meds. You’ve got a uniformed officer there. Is this color of law kind of presence? Is this a problem making these people take these meds? [laughs] So when I made lieutenant -- brand new lieutenant -- they put me over a fairly large evening watch on 25:00Centerside and the mobile crisis unit, and I [began?] -- oh, and another thing was we had nothing in the manual -- in the rules and regs -- you know, they document everything. I mean, we have -- our manual was like this. Everything is documented -- everything -- there’s a rule and there’s a reg for everything.

RIDDLE: [Exactly?].

HESSE: There’s a description for everything, but mobile crisis unit was not in there, okay.

RIDDLE: Oh dear.

HESSE: It was like a non-existent unit, so I immediately wanted to get that written into the rules and reg -- you know, into the manual -- and they had to go out of the county to take people to hospitals and facilities, and they were not deputized to do that, so if there was an incident out of the county, we were open for suit.

RIDDLE: Yeah.

HESSE: Okay.

RIDDLE: Yeah.

26:00

HESSE: And I wanted to address that. You know, there was a lot -- I bet -- you know, I won’t even go into all of the problems that could occur. For instance, our use of force manual and our procedures with use of force involve such as if you put your hands on me, and I’m in uniform and I tell you to not do that -- you know, maybe it’s not super aggressive, but you tou-- you know, you touched me -- you do -- you know, and a lot of people who have mental health problems want to touch you. You know, they want to do this thing. They’ve got -- they’re really close and they want to touch you. You technically can arrest.

RIDDLE: Because it’s battery.

HESSE: You know, it’s simple assault, and, you know, we’ve got all this stuff on us that if you try to get my gun, my mace, my whatever that I’m carrying, my baton, you know, you could hurt me or you could hurt yourself, so 27:00it really required special training for the police officers who were writing about what does a schi-- you know, does a schizophrenic person hear you the first 10 times you say, “Put down the knife?” Probably not. Okay, so it required a lot of training on their part. It also required cross-training because the nurses -- you know, nurses basically, in a mental health facility, they have to pretty much put up with anything. I mean, they don’t have a right to hit back if somebody, you know, does that, they don’t have a right to hit them back, right? They don’t. Well, that wasn’t going to happen when a police officer was there. We were going to arrest them, so there were a couple of incidents were -- because the nurse thought we were being abusive, you know -- that we had problems, so I cross-trained them. I didn’t really ask. I 28:00cross-trained them. [laughs]

RIDDLE: You just did it.

HESSE: I got the people that were over the nurses -- I got their okay to bring my people to their facility, they trained us, they gave us, you know, a workshop, then we had them back over to our training division, and I had them go through a use of force class and several -- a couple -- other classes, but use of force was the big one. Well, then there was a problem of police officers not wanting to do this because they didn’t get any extra pay for it. You know, they didn’t get an extra hoo-ha or nothing for it, so I set it up where they could be off on either Friday, Saturday, and Sunday -- you know, that they would have one day, and it would rotate because every 90 days, everybody’s days rotated, so I set it up where they could have either Friday, Saturday, Sunday or 29:00Saturday, Sunday, Monday or Sunday, Monday, Tuesday. Well, I had people begging to come in the unit then. [laughing] It was like, “Please take me,” and I really got a really cream of the crop group that were well-trained, you know, I could trust them, I -- they were willing to communicate back with me if there was a problem, and I guess this has been about maybe a year -- maybe a year -- and I had it really running smooth. I was keeping stats, I was really keeping good records so I knew what my people were doing, you know. Oh, they weren’t even -- they would go out -- they would not even come over the radio. They would just take these patients out of the county and come back and never tell people where they were.

RIDDLE: Oh yeah.

HESSE: In the beginning, when I -- oh no, we weren’t having that. I want to know exactly where you’re going and when you get back in the county. You know, that kind of thing, so anyway, everything was running real smooth, and I 30:00took two or three days off, and I came back, and they had just -- my -- the same guy that I had told that he would give me a decent evaluation or he would prove otherwise, this was -- now we’re talking several -- many, many -- years in between. He had dismantled the whole program that I had set up. I mean, there was still a mobile crisis unit, but he had dismantled everything and given it back to this MPO to run.

RIDDLE: Oh.

HESSE: Yep.

RIDDLE: Oh.

HESSE: [laughs] So this is an example of the kind of thing that happened to me. Also, when I was a sergeant and we had all of these guys in the reserves, and they were not on the street -- they were in, you know, wherever -- overseas -- they came to the sergeants and they said, “You know, we’re not getting 31:00anymore people. We’re not hiring anymore people, and we’ve got to handle these calls, so we need you to come up with an idea” -- this was every-- all the sergeants -- “We need you to each come up with at least one idea to reduce repeat calls.” So I decided, well, there’s no sense in reinventing the wheel, and I’m going to do some research, so I found out -- which is no big surprise -- the domestics are number one repeat call. Okay, and I did some more research, and I got four or five people that really respected me who were willing to come to my house and spend their time to look at this research, and we decided -- we developed our own little program based on a program out of 32:00Miami with Janet -- shoot -- she was the secretary of state...

RIDDLE: Napol-- it starts with an N? Oh, oh --

HESSE: She had Parkinson’s.

RIDDLE: Oh.

HESSE: Oh, lord, I can’t think of her name.

RIDDLE: It will come to us.

HESSE: Okay. Well, anyway, she had actually --

RIDDLE: Reno.

HESSE: Reno. Janet Reno had developed this program years before in Miami, and so basically, we took that -- we tweaked it a little, but it was basically the same program, but I had research like this. I mean, I researched it like, you know, a thesis paper kind of thing, and I brought it to him, and I did a proposal, and -- of course, they’d never seen a proposal before probably -- but I did a formal proposal -- written proposal. I told them exactly what I was going to do -- that I was going to train these core people, and I wouldn’t have them working every day -- those five people -- but I might have two of those five people working on that shift with me that day because everybody’s 33:00days off rotated and they were different, so I said, “Whoever is there, if they’re not on a call, I’m going to send them to the domestic, and we’re” -- and, of course, the other officers loved it because they don’t want to work domestics, so everybody was happy -- everybody was happy. These people were trained, they got real good at it, they would go in, they would give the woma-- usually the woman -- there are men that are abused. You know, they would go in, they would give them the information of these are people you can go to, these are people you can call to get counseling and help or shelter, this is what we suggest -- that you have a little diddy bag with these things packed, ready to go --

RIDDLE: So you can leave.

HESSE: Right, and here is your case number. If there had been obvious abuse 34:00that day, we made an arrest, we did not have to have -- at that point, we had a family vio-- we had a law where we could arrest for an assault that wasn’t done in our presence if it was family violence, but it was really hard to get the other officers to enforce it, so I knew these officers were going to go in -- if they saw signs of violence, that they were going to arrest, and we were going to follow through on the case. She didn’t have to do anything, and we called her the next day, okay. That was like a magic pill when we called that -- when we called the next day. I do not know why, but it was like -- I don’t know, it worked. It was like these women would show up for court, they would do what they -- you know, they would follow through, they would get their counseling. So it was really working well, and I was, again, trying to keep my stats so I could prove that the unit was really doing something, and I asked one 35:00of my people to go up to the criminal investigation division to check where these reports were filed and to see -- they were suppose-- you know, there was supposed to have been follow up, of course, if it was a valid kind of problem, and I did not know that we had a domestic violence unit in name only in CID, headed by a certain female officer who apparently they thought was, you know, Okay -- would do what she was told to do, I guess. So basically what happened -- because I also knew one of the secretaries up there -- basically what happened is the reports came in, the secretary went, you know, did what she had to do and filed them, okay. Nothing was being done. Zero.

RIDDLE: Oh, no follow through.

HESSE: Which, of course, is a total no-no, and I never was able to prove that 36:00they were getting federal money for this domestic violence unit, but I bet you they were.

RIDDLE: Oh, because why have something with that name?

HESSE: Well, they sent me -- they did send me to one workshop kind of training session about grants, and that came up then about the domestic violence federal money.

RIDDLE: Oh, the Violence Against Women Act.

HESSE: That we did have it [indicated?]. Of course, the two were not -- you know, it was here and here. It was already over with by the time I found out about it, but I’m sure that’s what happened, so there was the kicking of trash cans where we had our chief at the time -- so the story goes -- I didn’t see it, thank God -- but apparently there was, you know, a verbal -- a cussing, raging fit of throwing things and kicking trash cans, “Who the hell does she 37:00think she is?”

RIDDLE: Oh.

HESSE: “Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. She will not do any more of this,” [laughs] and it came down, you know, down the hill, and my lieutenant and my, you know, captain and major finally -- you know, suddenly knew nothing about this even though they had seen the proposal, they had okay’d everything. I was not doing anything that they didn’t know about, and it wasn’t costing them one dime. These were people who were going to be there anyway --

RIDDLE: Right.

HESSE: -- you know, and they took their time for the extra training, okay, so, you know, totally, totally -- but this is the kind of thing that I tried to get there. You know, I did -- I was able to do things like the fire department 38:00instituted a debriefing many years before the police officers ever had that available to them, so if you were at a shooting scene or if you were at a scene where three children got killed, and you couldn’t seem to get up the next morning and come to work, that, you know, the reason was that the police officers needed to be debriefed at a critical sce-- you know, after a critical scene. Well, I made it my business to make sure that that happened, and I was the first sergeant ever to do that in the police department, where you would just bring in a counselor from the [inaudible] -- oh, let’s see, they called it the Employee Assistant Program, and you would bring -- you would just ask for that, they would come, and then you would gather all the officers that were at that scene, and they would just say what they remembered, what they saw at the scene. A lot of times we don’t deal with the same problem. There was one 39:00situation on Glenwood Road, right close to where the old drive-in used to be -- Glenwood near -- let’s see what you would [need?] -- Glenwood -- it’s not too far from 285, but there’s kind of this hill and this dip, and people would run across from the apartments, and this particular night, a young female had two children, and I guess she had them by the hand or whatever, but anyway, somehow she got across and her two kids got killed.

RIDDLE: Oh.

HESSE: They were, you know, semi-okay -- they were still alive, but barely, when we got to the scene, and the guy that hit them was just distraught. He was just totally -- you know, he just didn’t see them, and so he was upset, she was 40:00hysterical, the people that are working the ambulance, they know one of them is already dead -- the other one, they’re trying to work her, but they’re pretty sure she’s not going to make it, and they don’t want the mother in the ambulance.

RIDDLE: Yeah.

HESSE: Okay, so I have to try to deal with the mother, and, you know, I’m a mother, so I would want to be in the ambulance. Anyway, that was a real close one because she drew back to hit me -- it was one of these, you know -- and I was trying my best to tell her in the softest way possible she couldn’t get on the ambulance, so that was my trauma -- my kind of trauma. I mean, that doesn’t sound -- with all the things that could happen on my job, why did that bother me, right? But it’s because I’m a mother, but the other guys -- you know, one of the guys took, actually, ended up taking the mom to the hospital when -- and, of course, was there when she received the news that her second child was dead. Big black guy -- big macho looking black guy. There was 41:00another guy that was directing the traffic and was dealing with the guy who had hit the children and he was also traumatized, and so anyway, when I brought them all together, I realized that, you know, everyone that had worked that scene was affected, and these are seasoned police officers who have seen everything, so, you know, it’s not just when you get shot, it’s not just when you see a brutal murder, it’s not just those things. In fact, sometimes you can kind of separate yourself from that. You know, you get used to seeing blood, you get used to seeing, you know, somebody -- I mean, it sounds horrible, but, I mean, I can’t tell you how many times I went into a scene where somebody had committed 42:00suicide and blew their brains out, so, you know, you have to -- to function and work the scene, you can’t think of that as a living, breathing person five minutes ago. You can’t do that. You want to be respect-- I was always respectful. I never made jokes and stuff, which some police officers dealt with it that way. I never made crude jokes and stuff at the scene, but, you know, you can’t -- you just can’t. Now later I might have had to deal -- you know, I might have cried about it, but you can’t do it at the time. You just can’t, but anyway -- and I don’t know what question you asked me because I’ve just been talking, talking. [laughs]

RIDDLE: It must have been a good one. It got you started.

HESSE: But anyway.

RIDDLE: Well, let’s see, you were -- you were a sergeant for how long?

HESSE: Well, you know, you asked me that -- I want to say it was almost nine years.

RIDDLE: Okay, and then you were a lieutenant for about three years.

43:00

HESSE: Right. So in other words, if I had 22 -- close to 22 years in -- I really put my time in in-between each time I got promoted.

RIDDLE: Yeah.

HESSE: Yeah.

RIDDLE: Yeah.

HESSE: Absolutely.

RIDDLE: Was there something in particular that made you decide to retire?

HESSE: Yeah. Derwin Brown’s death -- the major of my precinct at that time was in charge of that investigation, and I will preface this to say -- the following comments are my opinion.

RIDDLE: Understood.

HESSE: With a lot of things to back it, but, you know, we won’t go there. My major was in charge, and he was a yes man, and I feel -- my opinion -- that 44:00there was a conspiracy that some of the higher ups did not commit the murder, but conspired. Derwin was a -- he had his faults -- he was a ladies’ man -- but he was really sincere about revamping the sheriff’s department, and the sheriff’s department is separate now from the police department, but he had -- along the way, he was -- as I said, he was the one that helped get the mental health counseling put into place, so he had some -- what might have been considered radical ideas. He was also part of the black kind of FOP 45:00organization, so I know he had some enemies, but the reality -- you know, the -- at my core, I knew that everybody that needed a position slipped into those positions once Derwin was dead. It was too convenient. It was way too convenient.

RIDDLE: Oh.

HESSE: Okay, because they were getting ready to get rid of the directorship -- it had already been decided -- and people needed places to go.

RIDDLE: Directorship of?

HESSE: Of the police department.

RIDDLE: Okay.

HESSE: So that was really difficult, and I was already -- I was tired. I had -- 46:00you know, like I said, from the first day to the very last day that I worked, I had to fight. There was never an easy day. There was never a day where I felt I was accepted -- that, you know, I didn’t have to deal with something that had to do with, you know, I’m female, and I -- and you shouldn’t be here -- every day, and you just get tired.

RIDDLE: Oh yeah.

HESSE: But anyway, so I was up for captain, but I knew I had not been happy as a lieutenant in just -- you know, what it entailed was not really what I wanted to do.

RIDDLE: The administration.

HESSE: Right. That wasn’t really me, and I went on a vacation after my -- I had worked with this guy a lot, you know, through different stages of my career, 47:00and he was my captain at the time, and he wasn’t there very much, and I knew that he working -- he was really working two jobs. He was working for another police department, which was illegal.

RIDDLE: Oh my goodness.

HESSE: You know, there was a lot of things going on like that that people were ignoring, and, anyway, he was never there, so there was never -- I really was working without a captain, but they had had an incident where a woman -- when I was -- I was not there that day, but there had been a woman who had been -- I believe she had been divorced from this man for at least six years -- it might have been longer than that, but it was a good length of time that she had been divorced from this man. She had done everything right. She had never let him come back to the house; she had taken out the -- you know --

RIDDLE: Restraining order?

48:00

HESSE: -- restraining order. She had done everything right by the book, which usually that’s not the case, but she had done everything right, and he had kidnapped her, and he was raping her in this house, and the special unit was called out, the SWAT team was called out, and they were -- they had surrounded the place, and when they found out that this was her ex-husband, my chief told them to stand down because he wasn’t doing anything to her that he hadn’t done thousands of times when they were married.

RIDDLE: Ugh. Excuse me.

HESSE: Well, so this captain told me this because I had come in to say something about -- you know, that I -- I don’t know what I said. I must have said something about I don’t understand why they didn’t go in. Finally, the woman jumped out of a window and saved herself, so one of the guys that was on 49:00the SWAT team was telling -- you know, had told this to me at the pumps also because he felt bad about it -- you know, he was feeling really bad about it and guilty about it because he was one of the guys that, I guess, was up on the porch and could hear everything, so -- but he was telling it to me as if -- not as if I was one of the boys, but as if, of course, I wouldn’t blink at this. No one would blink at this, and I had been having trouble -- you know, I mean, I guess I had my type of PTSD, I guess, where I was having trouble -- and I knew it. I had been there for at least a year, maybe longer, where when something 50:00like that would happen, I was, you know, this close to saying, “Fuck you,” and walking out and losing my pension.

RIDDLE: Yeah, yeah.

HESSE: Okay, which they would have loved, and I remember turning around and just, with all of my every ounce of energy, leaving the room without saying anything because I -- if I’d opened my mouth, I would have -- I know I would have cussed him out. I know I would have, and so I -- right after that, I took a vacation, and I had been taking more vacation than I had ever taken towards the end of my career because I knew I was that close, and I took this vacation, and I went -- and we happened to be going through Mobile, and I had been journaling and stuff like that, and I had always danced -- so I was -- you know, 51:00I had taught dance -- sacred dance -- for years and years in the church and had my own program there. That’s a whole ‘nother story, and so, you know, I had this real creative side that was, you know, talking to me, and I started writing this novel. It just started coming out because of something I saw in Mobile, and, on the way home, I just said, “You know, [Dean?], I just don’t -- I don’t -- you know, I really -- I’m over it. I think I’m done.” [laughs] “I think I’m done. I think if I don’t do it -- if I don’t quit now that I will not leave in the way that I want to leave. You know, I will lose it, and they will say I went crazy and they’ll create all sorts of rumors. You know, ‘Lynn lost it,” because there had been police officers, you know, wandering around the poli-- they find them wandering around the parking lot with their, you know, shorts on and their gun belt on, you know, 52:00because they just -- they lose it, so I said, “I don’t want to go out like that. I want people to remember me for the job that I did and the person that I am, so I think it’s time to go, even though I could probably make captain in a couple months,” so that’s why I left, [laughs] but, you know, I wish that I -- I wish it had been a different environment because I had gotten my degree during this time -- in ’96, I got my degree from Georgia State, and I --

RIDDLE: In criminal justice, right?

HESSE: Yes, in criminal justice, and I probably -- if it had been different circumstances, I probably would have gone back and got my masters and tried to have made chief somewhere, but it just wasn’t in the cards for me. I just -- you know, I’d raised my kids and they were out on their own, and that was one of the reasons I took the lieutenant’s test because I had a child in college 53:00at the time, and I really wanted her to finish, so -- but, you know, you just -- you have to deal with what is, not what you want sometimes, so – and but, what it has allowed me to do is develop the ideas that I had for the family violence -- the play that I just had performed at Field in December. It is about an abused child who grew up -- he’s 15 -- and he -- it’s based on a true story -- and he killed his mother. In my story, he kills his father, but -- and he took an ax to do it, so it was a very bloody kind of thing, and this was a very 54:00small community. My mother lives -- my mother did live -- she’s dead now -- in the country between Forsyth and Barnesville, off of Johnstonville Road, and -- so everybody knows everybody and people go to church together, and, you know, and this kid had been abused his whole life, so why didn’t somebody know about it, right?

RIDDLE: Yeah, yeah.

HESSE: And so that’s one of the issues that’s dealt with in the short story, and the other one is just simply a sort of, you know, a memorial to my mother and her fortitude. You know, she came from very humble beginnings and went back to college at Georgia State, got her degree in her forties, and taught hearing-impaired kids for quite a while before she got Parkinson’s. So, you know, in that way she was my mentor. In other ways, she was very traditional, 55:00very fifties house-wife kind of attitude in a lot of different ways, but when this kid broke in, she was alone, she was in her seventies and she talked him into giving himself up, and he had a knife.

RIDDLE: Oh my.

HESSE: So quite unstable -- so it was interesting to play around with -- because I’m not a police officer anymore, I can play around with the idea of -- yes, we need warriors, but, you know, and it’s very nice to talk about peace -- being peaceful inside and bringing peace to the world, and I’m also a dancing flower for peace right now in a dance troupe that promotes peace, but what happens when you’re a victim of a crime or wars, you know? What happens? You 56:00know, how do you deal with that dichotomy of, you know, of violence, and so that’s something that I have been dealing with in my writing, as well as in my performing, is at what point, you know, does the warrior put down the sword, and do you have that option if you need it to be protected, [laughs] and what does it do to me? I’m reading a book right now called War and Soul by Ed Tick, and one of the interesting things he says, which I agree with totally, is that you can see such horror that literally you feel like that your soul is here outside of your body, and it’s like a separate entity from you, and men and women who 57:00have been to war will say, you know, that they felt like that they either lost their soul totally, or that it’s just this thing kind of out here that they talk to, but they don’t really -- you know, it’s like you’re empty, and so it concerns me -- it concerns me, the mental health of people who have been police officers and have been to war, and, you know, and I realize that some people would not put that in the same category. I would -- that, you know, there’s definitely different levels of PTSD, but how do we help these people become healthy individuals, and I feel like we kind of owe them that.

58:00

RIDDLE: Yeah. They’ve served us, right?

HESSE: Right, and so I’m very interested in that, and I will continue to try to develop plays or perform for them -- that’s one of the things I’m going to suggest that the Dancing Flowers do this year is to try to dance for that group. So, but, anyways -- it is interesting, you know, there’s a restorative justice movement in, you know, the world now, and I’ve gone to a couple of those workshops, and that’s an interesting look at things.

RIDDLE: Would you tell me what you mean by restorative justice?

HESSE: Well, the way I understand it -- and I’m certainly not an expert at it -- but the way I understand it is that you come to me with a problem, and it 59:00could be something simple like, you know, her dog keeps pooping in my yard -- we’ll just take that -- to something really, really big, but say it’s that, and I said, “Okay.” You know, “[Let’s?] -- who all is involved in this problem? You tell me exactly who’s involved in this problem.” I, the facilitator, go to these people, and I say, “Would you be willing to meet at this time so we can discuss this,” and I try to get everybody on board, they all show up, and then basically I say, you know, “While you’re talking, nobody interrupts you. You tell me exactly what the problem is. Not what happened 10 days ago, but what happened this specific time -- this last time that you brought to me.” We deal with that problem, that incident, and you tell me -- the next person that you’ve invited tells me what they understand 60:00about the problem -- each person does -- then you have to tell each other what -- you know, like, she has to say what you just said --

RIDDLE: Ah, okay.

HESSE: -- and then you say, “Yes or no,” and you clarify. By the time everybody has clarified what each other said and everybody has spoken about the incident, usually what will happen is that the community starts to take responsibility -- individually, as well as a group -- about what just happened, and they start problem-solving. Once you take responsibility, then you can say, “Well, you know, I could walk my dog on a leash, or I could come over and -- you know, if it does happen, I’ll come over and take it out of your yard, you know.” They come up with a solution, not based on what the facilitator -- the facilitator is just making sure that everybody gets their say, okay, and 61:00supposedly it works to keep kids -- like, for instance, to keep teenagers out of the system when it’s, you know, not gotten to some super heavy duty thing. You know, before it gets to that stage. So it keeps them out of the Juvenile Justice System, and it’s interesting to me -- I don’t know if we are set up in America right now -- if people would be open to that. I mean, it’s work. It’s like counseling; it’s work. You need a facilitator; you need people willing to talk to each other and have community, and I think that’s one of our problems is we don’t have community anymore.

RIDDLE: We’re each in our little separate space.

HESSE: So that is also something that I have worked toward is developing community because when I left the police force, there were days where I didn’t 62:00want to be around anybody -- nobody. Not even my husband. I just -- you know, I was just -- I was tired of people screaming in my face, I was tired of, you know, being told what to do, how to do it, when to do it, and, you know, and, of course, people always want to tell you about the traffic ticket they got.

RIDDLE: [laughs] If you say you’re a police officer.

HESSE: You know, “Did you ever shoot anybody?” You know, those questions.

RIDDLE: Oh yeah.

HESSE: So it was really hard. It’s that first couple of years after I retired, sometimes I would just -- you know, I would go out to go to the library or something, and I would turn around and come back home and shut the door. You know, somebody would do something stupid in traffic or -- I don’t know -- it could be any little thing, but it would be like, “Okay, I’m going home. I’m just going to go home, I’m [going to?] shut the door. Yeah, yeah, yeah, you know, I’ll be okay,” and I really had to work -- this dance troupe that I’m a member of -- they’re ver-- these women are very politically active, 63:00and I really -- you know, I really had -- I started improving -- that was also kind of helpful -- that was helpful, and I, you know, just slowly -- just slowly -- I’m still working on it, I’m not completely there yet, I’m not completely sold, but I’m trying to be part of my community, and to, you know, have faith that we can work it out, but it’s hard. It’s very hard.

RIDDLE: So you’ve been retired how long now?

HESSE: Well, I knew you were going to ask me that. It would’ve been the end of 2002, and it’s 2012, so yeah, but it took a good -- I would say it took a good five years to kind of de-brief myself, and I had started writing this novel and got a really rough draft done in a year, and it’s been revised [ump-teen?] times, and I’m just about to have it done through the editing process -- you 64:00know, where it would be actually something that I can even self-pub-- I mean, I feel that good that it is that pristine that I could even publish it myself, but, in the meantime, I’ve written short stories and recently, this last year, started writing plays, and I find the play medium interesting because it is very similar to choreographing a piece of dance, which is familiar to me, and it just seems a good fit. I’m glad that I went through the other -- but -- you know, that I learned the craft of writing, but I -- you know, that I’m -- maybe I should phrase “learning” because you never learn everything -- but that 65:00I’ve gotten to a certain level with it, but the play writing, I think, is maybe where I’m going to go for the next year or so because I can take anything that is not published -- it doesn’t matter if it’s published or not -- and I can put it in play form and I can get it read, and I can get the idea out there; I can get feedback from other artists in field, and, you know, send it off to contest or whatever, so -- and I brought the short story that was published, I brought you a copy of that, and then the play that’s based on this short story that was read recently -- got really favorable reviews from people, and then they asked me to do it at the Core Studio recently in January the nineteenth for a lunch time series -- they have field twice a year, and so 66:00there may have been 20 artists involved, and they asked me and this one other woman, who was a Flamenco dancer, to be part of the lunch series, so that was, you know --

RIDDLE: Yes.

HESSE: -- that was a compliment, and, you know, I learned a lot about actors. I had never -- I thought I was just going to write this play and that was what I was going to develop, but what actually happened was I learned a lot about what actors need, you know, I had to think about costumes, I had to think about lighting, I had to think about props, I had an abstract dance that was -- that I choreographed --- that was the prologue to this play, and so I had, you know, rehearsals going on all over the place, and then I had to combine all these people together, and, you know, it was an interesting exercise in just -- well, I became a manager again, which I had been trying to not to -- [laughing] but 67:00you are -- you know, you have to manage. You have to manage the rehearsal times, you have to coordinate emails, you have to -- you know, and -- but it was that important to me. It was like, “Well, you can either not do the play or you can do everything because right now you don’t have any help,” so it worked, and I’m grateful for the opportunity, but anyhow, I brought you some stuff, and I had -- I had been in the [Celtic?] Christmas concert last -- not this December, but the December before -- and they actually aired it on NPR this Christmas, and I have a video of that, but I only seem to have one copy left, so I’m going to have to try to get you a copy if you’re interested in that, but that was the first time I had ever danced with a mask on, and we had these big heavy wings. I mean, we were actually supposed to be these kind of androgynous 68:00angels, and this was through the [Mask?] -- Mask Theater down at Little Five Points, the community theater, and Sandra Hughes is also a dancing flower and that’s how I know her. I also got an opportunity to be in a play as a -- kind of a big part -- playing a police officer, it was a real stretch, in The Living Ghost. That was -- oh, gee, when was that? That was -- now I can’t remember. It was right around the same -- it was all, like, within months of each other. We did a belt line -- [but?] we were in a belt line performance, the Dancing Flowers, down off Memorial Drive, and it happened that the Alliance performance was also going to be that day, but the really cool part about the whole thing was The Living Ghost was actually a national contest winner playwright. She was 69:0015 from New York -- had written the play -- so it was -- I think it’s called New Visions for Youth or something like that through the Alliance and the Black Box, and so they had sponsored that and brought everybody in for that, and I got to be part of that play, and I thought that was pretty cool. So, in my old age, I’m getting acting and dancing gigs -- I don’t know. [laughing]

RIDDLE: Well, it sounds like dancing, in particular, was something you did to nourish yourself for a long time.

HESSE: Oh absolutely. Absolutely, and it was a spirit-- you know, I mean, I’ve always been a person who felt like you need to balance mind, body, and spirit, and, you know, I come from a traditional Methodist background, but I always had some issues with traditional religion and decided to not participate 70:00in traditional religion many years ago, but, you know, my children were raised in the Methodist church and I -- like I said, I had my own program with about 30 people involved during the whole time that I -- pretty much the whole time that I was a police officer, so I would have to do things like -- because my days rotated -- my off days rotated -- I ha-- it was a real challenge to be able to hold class and keep that. A lot of times what I did was I either chose to work evening watch or morning watch so that I could have -- or, you know, whatever time it was that the people could meet, then I worked a different shift so that I could be there. So most of the time it worked out, but it was a juggling act quite often.

RIDDLE: Yes, I could --

71:00

HESSE: And, of course, the performances were on Sunday morning. Most of them. Some of them were on Wednesdays and so forth, but a lot of them were on Sunday mornings during the service, so, you know, I developed my whole program there -- you know, my whole way of teaching children dance, and I don’t think dance teachers expect near what children can do. My children do not just come on and look cute and point their toe. They didn’t do that. They were -- I mean, really, the sky is the limit. These kids can do it. Now they may have to be reinforced, you know. We would do things like we would take a Bible verse and they would, you know, learn the Bible verse and then we’ll discuss it and then we’ll come up with what we wanted to dance, you know, but we need to understand the Bible verse first, or whatever it was that we were, you know, doing, and I had this, you know, treasure chest of all these little what not 72:00things and, you know -- you know, like stickers, and, oh, they would work so hard for a thing of stickers [inaudible] -- [laughs] like, you know? So I was doing stuff like that, and it -- and then once a year they had this big choir -- these would be teenagers -- they would have a Southeast retreat for all of these talented, talented kids, and they would go -- it was chorale, as well as musicians, and they had little side workshops they could take, one of them being sacred dance, so I did that for -- took my vacation time -- most years that was all I had. I would take it and go up there because it was like for four or five days. It was a [quite?] -- to Young Harris College was where we went almost all the time, and -- but that would feed me. You know, I did it for me as much as I did it for the kids because it was -- I would see a different type of, you know, 73:00child who was obviously creative and, you know, not to say they were all angels -- they weren’t -- but, you know, and there was crazy things. You know, they do dorms checks and they had talent night and they’d have -- the staff would have to get up -- the, you know, faculty would have to have faculty night, and you would have to do some crazy thing, you know, and so it was fun. It was -- you know, that kind of thing was what kept me balanced -- kept me from totally becoming jaded. I won’t say I didn’t come out a little jaded, but --

RIDDLE: Yeah. Do you think that the Dekalb department ever had enough women for 74:00the women to really make a difference?

HESSE: When I left, they -- it was probably not quite a third, and I can’t -- I don’t know what it is now, so, to me, most of the women that were coming in and the younger women were -- they didn’t have to fight to get there, for number one, so I -- you know, I understand they didn’t get some -- they didn’t get it like somebody like me got it, but it seemed like they had a different mindset and that they were kind of willing to go with the flow more. I -- for instance, every time I saw a new person, from the time that I got out 75:00of the Academy, really, was [riding?] on my own. You have to go through a training period, so when I started riding the car by myself, I always went to whoever it was and said, “You know, if you need anything -- you got any questions, got any problems -- please call me because this is a tough job.” Never had one person call me ever. [laughs]

RIDDLE: Don’t know what to think about that.

HESSE: And it is because there’s this mindset that, you know, if I get out there and I prove that I can do this job, that they will accept me.

RIDDLE: And --

HESSE: And if I get in cahoots with somebody like Lynn Hesse -- this radical female [laughing] -- and I really truly never considered myself radical. I come from blue collar people. I come from people who really didn’t have status 76:00and, you know, took orders, you know? And kind of felt like that it was hard to get ahead and, you know, maybe there was just a little shame involved in all of this, and so -- no -- radical, no. You know, do I respect myself? Do I try to treat other people as I want to be treated? Yes. You know, do I expect you to give me my due when I’ve done four times what you just did? Yeah, and -- but it took me a long time to get there -- long, long time to get there -- and I hope some of these females will eventually get there. I wish that -- if I have 77:00any big regret, it is that I wish I could have mentored more women, but really, they wouldn’t let me. I mean, I had a few women who came up after I retired and said things like, “Why didn’t you tell me how hard it was to be a sergeant,” or something like that, but they wouldn’t have believed me, you know. There’s this attitude that once you make sergeant, you never work again, and once you make lieutenant, you don’t do nothing, you know, and it’s really -- I mean, it’s super not -- it’s so totally not true if you’re doing your job. Now you cannot do your job in any position, but if you’re doing your job as a sergeant, you’re not only managing people, managing all the calls, coming up with who’s going to go where, but you are the last back-up person. You know, if there’s nobody to back on that domestic, that’s where you’re going, and so, you know, I never -- I never -- 78:00you know, I was on the road. I was going to -- you know; I was just totally always going as a sergeant. I never stopped on Southside. You know, that’s all I can speak to, and same thing as a lieutenant. You know, you don’t go to -- you wouldn’t go to an average call, but you would go anytime there was a serious call, whether it would be, you know, a death or a multiple fatal accident or something like that. You show up on that kind of scene, and you’re actually managing sergeants. You’re not managing the troops, so it’s a little bit different ball game, but it’s -- yeah, I don’t know.

RIDDLE: Well, it sounds like you had to fight for every promotion, and some of your good programs that you started got messed with, and -- do you think a 79:00police force would be much different if there were women in hierarchy? I mean, higher up like captains and majors?

HESSE: Well, they had made captain a couple of years before I left, and I understood that one of them made major. Unfortunately -- and, again, my opinion --

RIDDLE: Sure.

HESSE: -- notice I’m not using any names. [laughs]

RIDDLE: Understood.

HESSE: The women that did make major -- I feel like she had given up. You know, I mean, she was there, she came in, but, you know, I think she had pretty much 80:00given up doing anything, you know, important -- anything that was going to rock the boat -- years and years before that.

RIDDLE: Yeah, and they rewarded that.

HESSE: I assume.

RIDDLE: Yeah.

HESSE: Not that she didn’t pass the test.

RIDDLE: I know, I know.

HESSE: Okay, but -- you know, and, in some ways, I don’t fault her because I left. You know, my choice was I left bef-- you know, which I always said -- when I first started, I said, “If I get to the point where I feel like that I cannot uphold the standards that I’ve set for myself, then I need to go,” you know. Don’t become an alcoholic. Don’t -- you know, don’t do some of these awful things -- you know, think of committing suicide. I mean, we have a really high rate of suicide that’s never discussed openly because we get 81:00really depressed. I mean, it’s depressing, you know, and you -- it’s a love-hate cycle kind of thing where you -- you know, you’re [an?] adrenaline junkie to some extent -- you have to be, and -- but, yeah, I chose to le-- and, for me, that was the best choice, and, like I said, I do have the regret that I would have loved to have been able to have mentored women -- to have stayed and been in the ranks and been -- made chief. Not [at?] -- it would never happen in Dekalb County, but somewhere -- and that I could have, you know, instituted progressive programs and training, and I was really good at -- you know, for instance, you’re supposed to have a little conference with people once a year after -- you know, and that was never done. You know, what is it that you would like to do in the future? You know, how can I give you training to get you there? That kind of thing, and I did that with my people and really worked with 82:00them to try to make sure that they got to develop where they wanted to develop. Some people want to make rank and some people want to be in SWAT and some people want, you know, be in the K-9 unit, and those conversations were very valuable to me because I learned what would motivate my people, and they knew I heard them, and so they worked hard for me because they knew it wasn’t just about -- you know, “Okay, go out there and write 10 tickets,” and it was -- it was never about that for me. It was, “If you do your job, you’re going to write some tickets, you’re going to make some arrests,” you know, “You’re also probably going to get some complaints,” [laughs] “and I will investigate 83:00those complaints thoroughly without prejudice. If you messed up, you messed up, and I’m not going to hold your hand, but if you’re right, I will back you to the hilt. I will stand up, I will get my butt chewed, but I will not write you up for something you didn’t do,” and I had a rep for that, and that was one of the reasons the administration above me did not like me. It was because I would not do that. I just wouldn’t do it. You know, if you had had three accidents in a year, then, you know, I’m sorry, but you’re going to have to take the consequences.

RIDDLE: Well, you sound like a good boss to me.

HESSE: [laughs] So, you know, and that made some guys mad because there was so 84:00much injustice and favoritism and cronyism and blah, blah, blah that, you know, sometimes these guys who were out there busting their butt were really good officers, but they just couldn’t keep from hitting those poles or something, you know, and I had one really country fellow -- good, good guy -- and he just had the awfullest [sic] time, and they demoted him. He had made master patrol officer. He really needed the money; he had some money problems, but anyway, they demoted him, and they put him on the [screening?] desk for a while when I was a sergeant, and he was so depressed and he was so despondent, and I took him aside and I said, “You know, I know this just seems like this is never going to end, but you can get through this and you can make rank again, and you’re going to be a better officer, and you’re not going to drive like a bat out of hell anymore because you’re going to know that it’s not going to pay, and 85:00this might prevent you from killing yourself or somebody else, so you’ve got to look at the long term, and I know that’s not easy, but this is what I have to do as your supervisor. I have to look at the long term and make sure that you come home every night.”

RIDDLE: That means a lot.

HESSE: [laughs] You know -- had another guy -- he was college educated, a really cool guy, but he was just -- he had come out of training, but he was just -- he just -- you know, he just -- he was so anxious and wanting to please, wanting to please, and he’d come out of training Okay and he was riding by himself, but he just kept making stupid mistakes, and I took him off to the side and I said, “You know, most of the time I have to light a fire under these guys to get them to work hard and care about their reports and, you know, the 86:00way they dress or whatever. Everybody has got their thing.” I said, “There’s usually something that I have to just, you know, kick butt over, in a manner of speaking,” but I said, “With you, I’m going to tell you the opposite. I want you to take a deep breath and start enjoying this job. You’re intelligent, you have critical thinking skills, you write -- you can write a good report. Some of these guys have trouble writing a sentence, you know.” I said, “You don’t have any of those problems. What you have to do is just take a deep breath, say, ‘I can do this job,’ and enjoy it and relax a little bit. You know, just take it down a notch.” [laughing] Well, when -- four or five years later, he was in [criminal?] investigation division. He’s in the murder -- you know, he was in homicide -- he had made homicide 87:00because he was -- you know, he had everything. He had it all right there in his resume, and he came to me and he said, “You know, you were exactly right.” He said, “I’ll never forget you talking to me that day.” I said, “Well, that’s what you needed. You know, that’s -- just a little pep talk. That’s all you needed. You just needed to settle down because you were just so anxious, but you had everything to do this job,” so, you know, stuff like that is -- hopefully, you do that kind of thing right and you mean something to people. [You know?] -- I had another kid who couldn’t spell at all, and everybody else had let him get by with it, and I said, “You know, you’re too smart for this. I’m not going to accept it.” I said, “If you cannot learn to spell, you can’t use a dictionary -- you know, that’s too much” -- I said, “I want you to go out and get one of these little hand-held spelling things” -- computers -- that was way back. That was years before 88:00everybody had that kind of thing, you know, and everybody was carrying one, and I said, “and I expect you to use that, and I want to see better reports, [or else?] you’re going to be sitting here a long time every day after class.” Well, he -- it made him so mad, and he came back to me, too, when he made CID, and he came back and he said, “You know, I really appreciate you making me -- holding me to the fire because,” he said, “I would have never made criminal investigation with the reports I was writing,” because they look at that kind of stuff -- the reports, you know -- the quality of the reports. He said, “I would have never made it.” I said, “[I know?].” [laughs]

RIDDLE: Well, it does -- it sounds like you made a difference.

HESSE: I hope so. I hope so -- to some -- you know, sometimes it’s so small compared to what I wanted to do, but, you know, I guess that’s what it’s all about is the day to day stuff. You know, how do you treat everybody day to day. 89:00So -- and hopefully some of that rubbed off when they became sergeants. Hopefully they treated [their?] people better.

RIDDLE: Yes, yes. I think you told Janet that you consider yourself a feminist.

HESSE: Oh yes. Definitely. [laughs]

RIDDLE: You sound very much like a feminist to me.

HESSE: Yes. I read The Feminine Mystique by Betty Friedan when I was in junior high school -- do not know where I got it. I must have just got it from the library -- just happened upon it -- because my mother was not a feminist, and she thought I was such maverick, radical person because I had these ideas, you know, very early on. I remember having a conversation with her in her bedroom, and my mother was -- that’s before she -- she actually did not even have a high school education at that point. We were living in Buckhead -- didn’t 90:00belong in Buckhead, but we were living in Buckhead, and she was working at a dry cleaning plant, and it was behi-- kind of like a block behind us, and she walked there every day because she didn’t even drive. I mean, this is how -- where my mother was at that point in time, and my father was working for Toledo Scales, and they had an office down here in Atlanta, so I remember talking to her and saying, “You know, mother, wasn’t there -- you know, you’re just” -- my mother was a very dynamic person -- I said, “You know, haven’t you ever wanted to do anything other than be a mom, you know, and work at a dry cleaning plant? Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but what were your dreams when you were a kid, you know?” Well, anyway, one thing led to another and she, you know, started telling me that she -- you know, she really always wanted to be a mother and that she was very fulfilled and on and on and on, and 91:00I knew my mother was not totally fulfilled, but anyway, at the time she did not admit that, but anyway, we were discussing The Feminine Mystique, and I think it kind of upset my mother, but I remember it being as a pivotal point in my life that there was somebody else in the world that [thought?] like I did and validated my feelings that I should be able to do what I wanted to do. If it wasn’t traditional in -- not that -- you know, again, I was raised -- I mean, you know, I had a lot of responsibility of, you know, cooking and cleaning and ironing and all sorts of things at a really young age, so I was very used to domestic chores, but I just knew there was something else, and I also never -- I got married really early, which is sort of weird because I never really even 92:00thought about getting married. That wasn’t -- you know, how some little girls always want to get married. Well, that just wasn’t, you know, something that I dreamed about. I always was a person who read a lot, and I always danced, and I, you know, probably was too serious, but anyway, that’s, you know, the way it was, and, you know, always had this sense of responsibility toward service, and I definitely think that had something to do with me becoming a police officer. I had already had my son by the time that there was an opportunity to make that decision. I probably would have went into the service if it hadn’t been for the fact of [Aaron?] being a child at the time that I got my divorce, and I decided that I would -- I had done a ride-along with some women, police 93:00officers, in Indianapolis. That’s where I was living before my divorce. I was trying to take some college courses then and just knew I could do the job. It was like, “I can do this. I can do this,” and so that’s what I did. When I got the -- when I came back, I worked for JC Penney for a while, and my mother was going to Georgia State then trying to get her degree, and she found out they needed police officers at Georgia State, and I worked here two years before I -- had a girlfriend that also was a single parent and she [gone?] with Dekalb a year before, and I got a hold of her, and I said, “You know, I’m really thinking about this, but, you know, I just don’t know about shift work with my kid. Do you think I can handle this logistically, you know,” and she 94:00said, “Oh yeah, you can do it,” and so [laughing] little did I know -- because in those days there was absolutely -- I mean, they would lit-- they would come in at, you know, eleven o’clock and say, “You know, you need to be on whatever shift tomorrow,” or they would come -- you’d be day watching, and they’d say, “You know, you need to go to morning watch tomorrow night -- different precinct” --

RIDDLE: Oh.

HESSE: -- and there was no -- there was no, you know, “Oh, I got to get [inaudible]” -- so my parents were living -- at the time that I started, my parents were living off of 85 in Fairburn, and if I had to, I would go down there and drop Aaron off. You know, it was kind of that kind of thing where if I had to, they would take care of him for a shift or something until I could get my sitting arrangements made up, and then when they moved down to Forsyth, then I was doing an hour, you know, [and a half?] trip to get him down there and 95:00back, and there was times when I would be like take him down in the evening, spend the night, and then get up at like three in the morning so I could make a six o’clock -- or whatever it was that I had to make -- roll call, so yeah, there were some days where it was pretty rough, but I made it. [laughs]

RIDDLE: You did. You did.

HESSE: I did it, so yeah.

RIDDLE: Is there anything else you want to talk about?

HESSE: Let’s see, I don’t know. I think we’ve -- you know, I think I’ve given you a pretty good overview of what my life was like and what I’ve kind of done since then, and I know Janet talked a lot about my childhood, so she and I discussed that.

RIDDLE: Yeah, it sounded like -- it looked like y’all had covered that pretty well.

HESSE: Yeah, yeah, so yeah, I think we’re good.

RIDDLE: Okay. I’ve enjoyed talking to you -- listening to you --

96:00

HESSE: Well, I’ve enjoyed talking to you.

RIDDLE: -- talking to you. Okay. We’re going to stop this.

HESSE: And let me give you my little stuff I brought. Let’s see. Well, this is the -- I don’t have but one of these, but I thought I’d just show you the anthology so you know where it’s coming from, and this is a copy of the play, which is the -- based on the short story that’s in there, and -- Okay, let’s see where I put all this stuff here.

RIDDLE: Oh, [we?] [inaudible]. You do not pull punches, do you?

HESSE: [laughs] And these -- this is -- my husband scanned the short story and 97:00put it on here for you, and then this is a copy of The Blue Steel Dance that was done at the modern -- the last place I did it was at the Modern Dance Festival, which is a big deal. I don’t know if you know anything about dance, but that’s a big deal to be asked to be in it, and so I [are a?] professional as they say, [laughing] but this is -- Louise Runyon was the steel worker in the ’70s and I was a police officer, so what we did is we taped interviews of each other. We took the text -- there’s a little bit of music in there, but mostly the dance is done to text based on our experiences, so that’s what that’s about, and I think you’ve already got one of these, but it’s not the best video. This is better, and I have done -- another thing I did this year was a community theater, where the -- it was called a community barter, and I played 98:00-- I [ca?]-- played the archivist, and I thought you might get a kick out of that video, so --

RIDDLE: Okay.

HESSE: And if you -- you know, so that’s the one I don’t have a copy of, so -- but anyway, and then I thought I would give you this because, you know, I’m a fabric artist, and so I thought I would let you have this as a gift -- a little change purse.

RIDDLE: Well, thank you. Thank you. That’s very thoughtful.

HESSE: I appreciate all your work.

RIDDLE: Now are all of these things in with the papers that you gave Morna or should they be added?

HESSE: They should be added.

RIDDLE: Okay.

HESSE: Yeah.

RIDDLE: Okay.

HESSE: Yeah.

RIDDLE: Okay.

HESSE: Yeah, I have a CD of the play, but I only had one, and I didn’t have a chance to make a copy, so -- but anyway, I thought the printout of the play would be -- you know, if -- you know, I’m just -- I have no idea if people 99:00will ever look at my stuff and use it for research, but who knows? You know, if it ends up on Broadway, well, they might be interested, [laughs] but anyway, the copy of that text is on one of those CDs, so you can --

RIDDLE: Okay, let me give you that back then.

HESSE: Yeah, but I just wanted you to see that it is in an anthology --

RIDDLE: Yes.

HESSE: -- by Wising Up Press, if they should -- you know, if I can get another copy I will, but I -- sometimes it -- because it’s a small press, sometimes it’s very expensive, and I might have to wait until they re-order for somebody else and [all this stuff like that?], but I sold my last one. I had bought -- I don’t know -- a couple hundred, and I sold my last one about three months ago.

RIDDLE: Ah, that’s a lot of books.

HESSE: So those are my -- that’s my copy.

RIDDLE: Yeah. Well, I have enjoyed it a lot.

100:00

HESSE: Well, thank you for taking your time, and I know you’ve got to transcribe all this, and -- but maybe -- do you not have to transcribe since they’re videotaping now?

RIDDLE: They’re still transcribing.

HESSE: Are they?

RIDDLE: Yeah, we have a volunteer who really likes doing that.

HESSE: Oh --

RIDDLE: So --

HESSE: Great.

RIDDLE: And she has transcribed the first part of the interview that you did with Janet.

HESSE: I hope I didn’t go back over the same stuff that I talked about before. I don’t think I did.

RIDDLE: Not a whole lot. Not much at all because I read it a couple of days ago, and I was trying to --

HESSE: It’s been so long, I have no idea.

RIDDLE: You know, it was September of 2010 --