New book a ‘source of therapy’ for longtime city cop

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SOUTH PORTLAND – A new book coming out this week provides the raw details of the life of a 23-year veteran South Portland police officer and lifelong resident of greater Portland.

Steve Webster, 45, the supervisor of the criminal investigation division of South Portland Police Department, can now add author to his resume. His new book, “One Promise Kept: The case that made a cop and others that almost broke him,” was released Wednesday, Nov. 24.

In the book, Webster takes readers on a literary ride-along behind the scenes of a law enforcement career spanning more than two decades. In “One Promise Kept,” he reveals what went on beneath the surface as he faced the trials, tribulations and triumphs that every cop faces.

Webster joined the South Portland police in 1987 and has served in a variety of capacities including patrolman, detective and agent with the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency.

The book will be available Nov. 24 on Webster’s website, onepromisekept.com, and will initially be sold at Nonesuch Books in South Portland’s Mill Creek Shopping Center. It may become available at other locations over time.

A portion of the proceeds from book sales will go toward three charities: the National Alliance on Mental Illness, the Warrior Legacy Foundation and the Trauma Intervention Program.

Webster recently spoke with Current Publishing about the book and the writing process.

Q: What is the premise of “One Promise Kept?”

A: There is one case that runs throughout the entire book. That was a home invasion that occurred in 1998 and the victims were little girls (7 and 10 years old). I investigated that case and it challenged me in several ways. The case was tough to solve all unto itself, and it didn’t help that I was introduced to the Asian culture, which I had never been exposed to before. I take the reader through the entire case from the time I was sent to the scene until the last defendant was sentenced. In between, I write about some of the more interesting cases or situations I’ve been involved with over the past 23 years.

Q: What drove you to want to share your experiences as a police officer with others through a book?

A: I wrote the book for two reasons: it served as a source of therapy for me, and I wanted to learn more about myself and have others gain a better understanding of what it is like to serve in the law enforcement profession. Containing your emotions and absorbing the emotions of others can take its toll on you after a while. That is what police officers do on a regular basis. Instead of going to a therapy session, I put many of my feelings down on paper. I’m hopeful that I expressed my thoughts and ideas in a respectful way, but people need to know that there are in fact some very bad people out there, even in a state like Maine. Having said that, there are many more good people!

Q: What have you learned from the process of writing and publishing your work?

A: I have realized that writing the book was the easiest part of the entire process. I had a great co-writer, Trevor Maxwell, and he managed to keep the stories in my voice. It was certainly a process that involved a lot of give and take, but I think we pulled it off. Deciding to self publish was a personal decision after consulting with some people that I truly respect. The business end of it has been challenging, but I’m blessed to have some great people around me who stepped up to the plate and helped me out. The main thing I have learned is I can’t do it all by myself, and it was reaffirmed that I have some great friends!

Q: Police officers are expected to keep their emotions in check under trying circumstances. Was writing this book a cathartic experience for you that allowed you to express those emotions more freely?

A: I do express my emotions in the book, but it certainly wasn’t easy! Most police officers, including me, tend to internalize things and I went out on a limb by telling the reader what was going through my mind during certain situations. I want other officers to know that they’re not crazy if they felt the same way I did. It is OK to have feelings, have nightmares and endure sleepless nights. We are after all human, but we are often expected to deal with inhuman conditions and situations. Better out than in, right? I got mine out by writing this book.

Q: Do you have plans to continue writing? Were there any anecdotes that did not make it into this book that you hoped you could share?

A: I find it amazing how many people ask me if I’m going to write another book. I haven’t even sat down with a cold beverage and read this one yet! I was making changes right up to the day the manuscript went to the printer, and some after! There are so many stories that I could tell, just like most of the officers serving across this country, but it got to the point where I decided enough was enough. I tried to focus on the cases that touched me, shaped me and made me who I am today. I’m hopeful the reader will understand why I selected the cases in the book after they read it.

Q: Who is your intended audience?

A: I obviously hope to reach those who serve, or someday hope to serve in law enforcement. I also want the audience to include those outside law enforcement so they may gain a better understanding of those who wear the uniform. This book is not just a “police book.” It deals with raw emotions that everyone has to deal with at some point in their life. Maybe the reader can pick up a pointer or two and get some options when it comes to dealing with adversity. I think people will get a better idea of who I am if they check out the website, onepromisekept.com, or the Facebook page.

Steve Webster, a 23-year veteran police officer in South Portland, released his first book, “One Promise Kept: The case that made a cop and others that almost broke him,” on Nov. 24. Courtesy image

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