I'm a "C.K." (Cop's Kid). I had a great, but sometimes unusual childhood. But I wouldn't trade it for the world. I think it played a huge influence in my love for all things mystery.
As a small child, I'd go with my dad to the shooting range. One of my first jobs was to collect shell casings in a metal peanut can when he was done firing. Those suckers were hot. You had to be careful.
He was the SWAT commander in the 1970s, and they needed practice bullets. I sacrificed a ton of crayons for practice ammunition. What other elementary school kid knew how to melt crayons and fill shell casings?
In first grade, my dad was the BEST for career day. He arrived in a police car, and then he had the police helicopter fly over and land in the field next to the school. He was way cooler than the insurance salesman. I still owe him for that one. He and the helicopter pilot were a hit!
One summer evening, my sister and I learned how to use a night scope. It was fun to watch the neighbor's dog illuminated all in green.
But NEVER watch police shows with law enforcement professionals. There were very few police dramas that my dad liked because most were too "Hollywood" and not real. I loved "CHiPs," and I never heard the end of it about Ponch and Jon not even riding their own motorcycles. (I didn't care that they were towed behind a truck.) But this stuck with me, and as a mystery writer, I do a lot of research to make my stories as accurate and plausible as possible. And my dad, now a retired police captain, is my best resource on police procedures and crime scenes. (The only police shows that he liked were "Hill Street Blues," "NYPD Blue," and "Barney Miller.")
As a C.K., I learned respect for guns and law enforcement. I am still a fan. Our police, fire, and first responders are heroes. They risk everything every day. I too vividly remember when my dad was called out for emergencies, and I wondered whether or not he'd come home that evening. These men and women (and their families) give up a lot in service for us. He worked just about every holiday, and we was right in the middle of every emergency or crisis.
While it wasn't a "normal" childhood, we had some interesting dinner conversations, and it was a wonderful time that I wouldn't trade for anything. Happy Father's Day, Dad!