Dave Bahde “LT”
Whether we like it or not our past often defines us. For me, that has been a long and exemplary career as a police officer. That full time career culminated as a Lieutenant with the South Salt Lake Police Department in Salt Lake City Utah. It was truly the rank for which I aspired upon entering the field and was fortunate enough to attain prior to retirement. In most cases it is the last position where as an adminsitrator you still remain in the field. Although you have many administrative tasks you are often at the heart of the action, a place where I was and still am most comfortable. As a reserve officer attending training most who worked with me still call me “LT”. It is a reference of respect for which I am eternally grateful each time it is uttered. The men and women I served as a Lieutenant and work with today as a reserve officer are among the finest examples of humanity on this planet. Too often the world gets tied up in the media frenzy and hype that accompanies the few instances in which officers err. We forget that the vast majority of these men and women place their lives on the line to protect us each and every day and night. I am proud to count myself amongst a group that often exemplifies what is best about America. For me at least, police officer is NOT a dirty word, it is a reference I will carry proudly until the day I leave this earth!
I was introduced to Law Enforcement in the 1980’s by a good friend and colleague at the time who was a reserve with the Salt Lake County Sheriff’s Office. His passion for the profession sparked an interest for me that exists to this day. After his full time appointment and my acceptance as a reserve we worked together often. We responded together on what would be a defining moment for me in law enforcement, a mid-air plane crash. As one of the first cars to arrive the carnage was mind boggling. This made clear that policework can be anything but routine and was perfectly suited to me. It also brought forth the best and worst of people highlighting the extremes of the police world. I worked as a reserve officer for the Salt Lake County Sheriff’s office until 1989 when hired full time by the South Salt Lake Police Department.
South Salt Lake is a smaller suburb of Salt Lake City that boasts a rather eclectic population. Populated by many apartment complexes and other multilevel housing the population is often transient bringing the commensurate issues with that circumstance. The population was also quite diverse. Areas in the city range from incredibly nice neighborhoods, to those that experience some serious crime. Within the first two weeks of hiring the entire night was spent on a homicide resulting in a 15 hour SWAT operation. The incident was not only interesting, the application of the SWAT team sparked another fire that would be re-ignited in 1999 and is still lit today. It was the tactical world that would become my greatest passion in law enforcement, a passion that has yet to subside and drives much of what I do today. Many have stated that SWAT is a calling and for many that is true, it certainly is for me.
Over the course of my career time was spent in patrol, detectives, and in the schools. I was the first G.R.E.A.T. officer in the state of Utah and spent a couple years touring the country teaching officers the program and how to survive in a junior high school. During that time the opportunity to teach arrest control presented itself as well as report writing, and even accident investigations. In 1996 promotion to sergeant really jumpstarted my career. It is a position to this day for which the fondest memories exist. During that time I supervised just about every unit in the department at one time or another too include firearms and SWAT. Those two areas really never left my purview until just prior to my retirement. After ten years as a patrol sergeant the move was made into investigations, easily one of my most memorable positions. It really added a whole new world, too include crime scene, evidence, and the victims advocates. It was the latter that was the newest and the most eye opening. Victims Advocates perform an incredibly valuable function and are amongst the most dedicated people I have ever seen. It also gave me the ability to play with the Joint Criminal Apprehension Team an incredibly dedicated unit that performs an incredibly dangerous task. It is also some of the most fun you can have in police work as an adrenaline junky! It was so much fun I still go out with them on occasion as a reserve officer.
My promotion to Lieutenant placed me in a field command position back on the street, a place where I am easily the most comfortable. After a year the writing on the wall placed me over Investigations again, and in a primarily administrative position. This added Internal Affairs to the plate another misunderstood field for sure. During the course of this position I completed an undergraduate degree and continued my passion for the SWAT team. During this time the chance to do a little writing came up for Harris Publications and what would become my next adventure became clear. As my twenty years approached the state was changing the retirement system, there was really no where in the PD I wanted to go, and the writing hobby was turning into a bit more. In August of 2009 the plug was pulled as a full time Lieutenant and I stayed on as a reserve officer. When possible I still run the firearms training for the SWAT team, train with the sniper unit, and go out with the JCAT unit. It has also allowed me to re-engage with my traditional Japanese Martial Arts training. That passion started in 1972 and has not really stopped since. The writing career and retirement allows me to continue training in Kendo and Karate, and pursue a life long passion.
So, today I am primarily a professional writer mostly writing for Harris Publications, but also for POLICE magazine and a couple other periodicals. At the same time my education is continuing while I pursue my Masters in Criminal Justice Administration. I strive to keep what I write interesting and focused on the practical. By attending as much training as possible I stay abreast of what is going on in the police world. As a consumer I found those writers that had not been to training in 30 years entertaining but mostly irrelevant I strive to never get to that point. Attending well over 200 hours in firearms training last year I already have that much scheduled in the first six months of this year. I have a tendency to go all in or not at all and this will be no exception. I only hope my fashion and effort shows through in my writing. When it stops, so will I as I have always lived by one adage; If you are going to do something do whatever it takes to be the best at it, or don’t do it!
Copyright © 2011 Firearms and Tactical Consultants