Tales of a state trooper: Nevada Highway Patrol vet recalls career in book
Steve Raabe remembers what it’s like being the only trooper for 100 miles in any direction, watchfully patrolling the far-flung reaches of rural Nevada.
“When you’re out there, you’re out there — backup is nonexistent,” said Raabe, who spent the final two decades of the last century and the start of this millennium as a trooper with the Nevada Highway Patrol.
The officer-turned-author published his first book, “Patrolling the Heart of the West: True Tales of a Nevada State Trooper,” in June.
The 221-page book is portioned into short stories — described by Raabe as “funny, weird and sad” — and details what it’s like patrolling the remote areas of the state.
“Some of my tales are funny, others are sad; some describe people who experienced an unbelievable amount of luck, and others who had no luck at all,” Raabe wrote.
In one anecdote, the NHP veteran recalled the burdensome task of waiting roadside for the arrival of a tow truck on a blistering 100-degree day.
His prisoner in handcuffs, the two had no choice but to wait for the tow truck to make the more-than-70-mile trek to a remote town on the Nevada-Oregon border.
After refashioning the handcuffs from behind the back of the prisoner to the front, the trooper bought two vanilla cones from a nearby snack stand.
“There the two of us sat. A truck thief and a state trooper, eating ice cream cones together on a hot summer afternoon,” Raabe wrote.
Not all of the author’s recollections, however, are humorous.
The story titled “A Dead Cop’s Grave” centers on the 1981 killings of game wardens Bill Pogue and Conley Elms at the hands of trapper Claude Dallas. Raabe was a member of the team who discovered Pogue’s skeletal remains, hastily buried in a shallow grave north of Winnemucca. Among the bones and the sand and the swaths of cloth that peppered the scene, Raabe recalls unearthing a .22 caliber bullet, “the execution bullet Dallas shot into Pogue’s head.”
Other stories describe car chases, car wrecks, and the trooper’s fair share of oddball encounters.
Raabe, a 1975 graduate of Carson High School, began his law enforcement career as a trooper at age 23 and spent the first 13 years on the job in Winnemucca, where he served as trooper then accident reconstruction expert.
He later served as a sergeant in Reno and lieutenant commanding districts in western Nevada. He resides in Winnemucca and Yuma, Arizona.
Raabe said his debut book has been well received and at one point held the No. 1 spot in Amazon.com’s top 100 new releases for Kindle eBooks under law enforcement biographies and true crime.
He’ll be available to meet readers at a book signing event at 6 p.m. Oct. 10 at Browsers Corner Bookstore, 711 E. Washington St.
To order an autographed copy, go to raabebooks.com. Otherwise, the book, published by Latah Books of Spokane, Washington, is available in paperback and e-book formats at Amazon.com.