by John P. Butler and Peter Mars

Publisher: Royal Palm Press
ISBN No.: 0-9664475-9-X

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When an old person dies, a library is lost. Information sometimes pertinent may be gone or misconstrued by future writers or historians. The Best Suit in Town was written for posterity. This book tells the story of a great generation of cops who policed a mid-sized, Midwestern industrial city after World War II through the time of the conflict in Vietnam. It was a time of change and turmoil that included the civil rights movement and society's general rebellion against authority.
The stories are not those of historians but rather the unadulterated truths coming from old street cops, letting you know first-hand what it was like to walk a beat during this time when the criminal justice system was about to explode.
These police officers had a lot in common with each other. They had come from blue-collar working families and had served their country in the war where they had seen both the best and the worst of mankind. They knew right from wrong and treated everyone with respect, until shown otherwise. As new officers they all got to know the "night people" during their assignment to the graveyard shift. These men called Mansfield, Ohio their home. Mansfield was also the home of the Rev. Joel King, uncle of the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., Shirley Rhodes, secretary and manager to Sammy Davis, Jr., and Pulitzer Prize-winning author, Louis Bromfield. Their stories figure prominently in ours.
Our story's newly-appointed officers, which included Mansfield's first black officer, policed a very diverse society. Italians, Poles, Jews, Hungarians, Greeks, Irish and blacks had answered the call to work in the area's factories. As in most cities, they grouped together based upon their ethnic origin. The uptown people at times looked upon them as foreigners. And so it was, when our story begins. Armed with a nightstick and a .38 caliber revolver, the new policeman went to work in the street. Their job changed rapidly in their lifetime. It was a roller-coaster ride of good and bad, the vibration from which can still be felt today. There is a message in every chapter taken from the point
of view of the cop who worked the street or from the people who lived the story.

About the Author:
John Butler was the chief of police in Mansfield, Ohio. This is his story. Following retirement he started the police department on Sanibel Island, Florida and was its first police chief. Retired for the second time, he has turned his experiences into hard copy; first with a book called Policing Paradise - the story of the Sanibel Island Police Department, and now with The Best Suit in Town. John currently lives in Florida with his wife, Betty.

© 2001 Peter Mars Books. All rights reserved.