How Being a Law Enforcement Officer Influences my Writing Career

Sarah is a professional in every sense; bringing invaluable experience from multiple arenas whenever she enters a room. Whether derived from her history in policing, professional writing, or corporate organizational experience, a breadth of knowledge and practical application shine through among both her speech and written word.
— John Krueger, Administrative Sergeant, La Porte Police Department

Bring Law Enforcement Officer Sarah Cortez to your Department, Citizens Police Academy - any public safely organization - to inspire, energize and reward officers, staff, and members.

Award-winning writer, Deputy Cortez has served twenty-one years in active and reserve functions in patrol, investigations, training, undercover, and bailiff in Harris County, Texas.  

When she writes about policing, she speaks from the heart and the mind of one who knows that her best friends are her gun and ballistic  vest.  She speaks directly to young officers learning the ropes and the “old heads” who have seen it all.

Sarah’s message about why she chose a career in Law Enforcement after a successful corporate career will inspire your officers and supervisors.  Her two books of Law Enforcement poetry, Cold Blue Steel (Texas Review Press, 2014 and How to Undress a Cop (Arte Público Press, 2000), breathe life into the mundane daily grind and capture the intensity of crisis.  Please see the second page of this announcement for comments about her talks and reviews of her poetry books.

To arrange for an appearance, please call Ann Boland, 520-247-0070. 

For a PDF copy of this page, click here.

What the press says about Sarah Cortez and policing

Cold Blue Steel (Texas Review Press, 2013)

In a culture addicted to cop dramas - on TV, in movies, in the pages of police procedurals - Cortez offers an inside look that both honors and demystifies women and men in uniform. … The gravity of this responsibility - and the occasional dark humor that comes with it - bleed into the collection. Cortez’s thoughtful, plainspoken poems put readers where police, victims and criminals tend to be: on the street, in the medical examiner’s office, in court, in a patrol car, at a funeral.
— Maggie Galehouse, Houston Chronicle, 8-12-13
Her work will put you in the mind-set of an officer regularly confronting death and the even greater challenges of people given over to acts of sheer insanity and evil.

… Cortez’s work in “Cold Blue Steel” is both brutally frank and lyrically, rhythmically beautiful. Some of her poems, quite literally, are prayers.
— Ed Conroy, San Antonio Express News,10-24-13
In unflinching, densely-packed verse that sparkles with indelible phrasings, Cortez takes us from rookie training to routine law enforcement and then into the garish, violent world of vicious crime.

Along the way she shows us the humor and friendship that blossom amidst the men and women charged with the stark responsibility of putting their lives between assailants and victims. The voices she records for us are poignant and real, flawed human beings who nonetheless wrangle their way through thickets of power and bureaucracy to keep us safe.
— David Bowles, The McAllen Monitor, 10-17-13

How to Undress a Cop (Arte Publico Press, 2000)

In a society glutted with police shows and detective novels, it is perhaps surprising that more tales of law enforcement have not found their way into poetry. But Cortez, winner of the PEN Texas Literary Award, is about to tip those scales. Her sassy debut of mostly first-person poems comes to us from the unique perspective of a female police officer: drawing deeply on her experiences as a deputy constable in Houston’s Harris County, as well as her Mexican-American roots, Cortez writes convincingly on the charged topics of lust, fear, and home.
— Kirkus Reviews
And you thought there was no poetry in police work! This dazzling collection . . . is an entrancing literary quickie...
— Latina Magazine
Full of hard-edged description and fast-flowing narratives ... By turns erotic, tender, and gritty ... Powerfully direct.
— Publishers Weekly