In this episode of the MAG-TAC Podcast by Maglite Tactical, Dave Shearman who received a Law Enforcement Hero Award from the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund and Maglite - Mag Instrument, Inc., shares his story of being a volunteer law enforcement veteran who served with the armed forces during the Iraq and Afghanistan campaigns, following 9/11. Shearman and his friend and fellow officer James “JT” Taman, who also served and grievously wounded in an IED attack, wrote the book Outside the Wire in Blue about their experiences in Iraq and Afghanistan.
MAGLITE: 00:06 Welcome back to another MAG-TAC podcast. I'm your host Lou and we have a very special guest here on this program that I'm very excited to bring in. He is a true American hero and is a recipient of a recent law enforcement hero award awarded by the National Law Enforcement Memorial Fund and Maglite as part of their National Law Enforcement Hero Program. Without any further ado, let me bring him in. This is David Shearman. David, how are you sir?
DAVE SHEARMAN: 00:32 I'm doing great Lou. Thank you for having me to here today.
MAGLITE: 00:36 I'm so glad to have you on the program coming all the way to, it's all the way across the country from, Kansas, so thank you for being here.
DAVE SHEARMAN: 00:42 Outside Kansas City. That's right. Well, let me preface something, here. Go ahead. I'm not a hero and I want to make that perfectly clear. There's a lot of guys out there that, deserve that label and that I've not one of them, but thank you for the accolade anyways.
MAGLITE: 00:58 All right. I promise not to use it again the rest of the show. So you are the co-author along with JT James Taman, otherwise known as JT. You have a book called Outside the Wire in Blue, this book details a little-known Department of Defense Civilian Law Enforcement Advisory Program. Now, tell us where this was born out of and how you became involved in it.
DAVE SHEARMAN: 01:23 Right, so you might remember back in 2006, 2007 in Iraq, particularly in Fallujah, the Marine Corps and, the army were fighting and badly now Al-Qaida in that area. We're kind of having a real tough time of it. As you may recall, house-to-house fighting, Al-Qaida was using non-conventional methods on the battlefield and, at the same time, they were introducing IEDs onto the battlefield, which was having a devastating effect on our soldiers and Marines who costing a lot of lives. And so, because the enemy alcaide at that time was that acted more like an organizational crime entity, a gang, bunch of gang members, a lot of them, not even true believers. They were just there for criminal conduct. General (David) Petraeus and his staff put together an idea, hey, who can help us come combat these guys? And they came up with the idea of, employing big city cops, federal agents, so I'm bringing their skillsets to the battlefield.
MAGLITE: 02:33 So this was like fighting gangs or organized crime more than it was fighting another military force.
DAVE SHEARMAN: 02:41 Exactly. You know, just conventional war fighting as the army and the Marine Corps that has done over decades. But we saw guerrilla warfare and so on and so forth at Vietnam, Al-Qaida and many, transnational terrorist organizations are not conventional. They fight by all different types of means and the IED was really killing a lot of our soldiers at that time. They had to come up with some other way to look at the battlefield, because there was, a lot of different asymmetrical tactics being used. And on top of that, at that time we were, if you recall, we were trying to work with the host government, (inaudible), government of Iraq after it was dismantled. And, we're trying to also bring, insurgence that we captured on the battlefield and other evidence on the battlefield. We tried to utilize that in the judicial system as well as another avenue to take insurgences off the battlefield. So police officers obviously with their intrinsic investigative skills, came into play that, in that regard as well. So it was a multipronged, multifaceted approach towards utilizing, the skills of the American police officers. These are tenured 20 year plus, coppers (police officers) and brought that to the battlefield.
MAGLITE: 04:07 So this was no desk duty. I'm reading the book Outside the Wire in Blue, David Shearman joins us, co-author of that book, and you law enforcement professionals weren't in some desk setting. You are embedded directly with combat troops. And in fact, five of your compatriots of this force of several hundred of these volunteers from police departments across the United States were killed in combat. And your compatriot, JT was very badly wounded in an IED insurgency attack. So this was no easy days right?
DAVE SHEARMAN: 04:45 No, this was not a desk job. This was not 511 polos type of contractor position. LEPs (Law Enforcement Professional) were deployed either pre-deployment with the military units, brigades, combat brigades and so on and so forth, or they were joined military units, joint military units in country. Two LEPs were two a unit and we advise, we were part of everything from the core, from the general level all the way down to the company level. And, but we were embedded, we are dressed, we are outfitted, we're weaponized, just like any other soldier. And we were treated just as such, given the rank of a major, so we'd be on a staff... staff level meetings. But, yeah, as you mentioned, we ate, slept, cried and unfortunately, five police officers were killed in combat and those were Joe Morabito (Joseph Anthony Morabito), Norm Spruill (Norman Maurise Spruill), Kevin O’Rourke, Tom Boyle, and Paul Protzenko, wonderful guys and did a hell of a job for the program.
MAGLITE: 06:00 So David, before you were in this program, you had a decades long career as a police officer. You ever carry a Maglite?
DAVE SHEARMAN: 06:09 Well, it's funny because JT and I were talking about that the other day and I think we may even sent out an email about that. You know, we're kind of old. I mean the guys in this program over there were 47, 50, 55 year old coppers. So we're not, we weren't, the young 21, 22 year old soldiers. So you are talking about some old school coppers involved in this program and yes, Maglite was an essential item when we're patrol on the main streets of America as I wasn't in LAPD. And, I can say I had a have plenty of flashes by disposal even in Afghanistan when I worked undercover there. So I always, always at a tool at my belt
MAGLITE: 06:53 Multi-use is that Four D-cell MAG (MAGLITE)?
DAVE SHEARMAN: 06:56 Absolutely. Multi. Yeah, you're right about that.
MAGLITE: 06:58 All right. David Shearman, co-author of "Outside the Wire in Blue", thank you so much for joining us here on a MAG-TAC podcast. We really appreciate it, and congratulations on the Law Enforcement Hero Award from the National Law Enforcement Memorial Fund and Maglite. We really appreciate your service.
DAVE SHEARMAN: 07:14 No, we really thank Maglite and the National Law Enforcement Memorial Foundation/Fund and it's a pleasure. And, if they want to learn anything more about the program or the book, they can go to our website OutsideTheWireInBlue.com
MAGLITE: 07:30 Thank you so much.
DAVE SHEARMAN: 07:31 Alright, thanks again.
MAGLITE: 07:33 That's a wrap on this MAG-TAC podcast. We'll be back next time with more. Thanks for listening.