By Kayla Anderson
Spending 30 years as a Nevada State Trooper patrolling the desolate two-lane highways of the Silver State, Nevada native Steve Raabe has some stories to tell of his life on the road. In fact, some of his stories are so incredible that his friends and families urged him to write a book about it and share them with the world, not just around the campfire.
The result is the release of his first nonfiction memoir titled Patrolling the Heart of the West. Even though it has only been out for a few months, the book has garnered rave reviews for its authenticity and candor.
“I kept a diary everyday at work and it has been fun sharing my stories,” Raabe said. The book is a series of short stories. No major crimes or drawn out cases, just a selection of day to day events I experienced during my career.”
Comprised of more than 50 short stories 2-5 pages long, one gets a glimpse into the major risks involved as a state trooper. Growing up in Fallon and Carson City, Raabe got into bull riding and was on his way to living the life of a garbage man (his first major encounter with law enforcement was when he accidentally smashed his garbage truck into a parked Nevada state trooper’s car). Raabe eventually moved to Oregon with his family and started working in construction, but when the industry crashed he went back to Nevada and heard that the highway patrol office was hiring. Having a family to feed and tired of making meager wages, Raabe decided to get into police work.
Through his short stories, Raabe describes his rigorous training and his first time out on the road, then the entertaining characters he meets along the way. A few of them are drunk drivers- ones who can’t say their ABC’s forward and their entertaining improvisations or the scary one who passed out behind the wheel with his gun in the passenger seat. Sometimes the characters aren’t even people- they could be free range cattle who’ve been hit (which is surprisingly common on Nevada roads) or a flock of sheep who’ve been displaced on I-80.
He also shares personal stories of how he met his wife and the pride he has in his children- especially how their paths have crossed as they enter adulthood.
“It is my hope that my book will not only entertain readers, but also let them experience what is like to patrol the remote highways of our wonderful state,” he said.
Raabe writes in a tone that is lighthearted, honest, and entertaining while also delivering insights, lessons, and tips on how to navigate Nevada’s desolate roads (did you know that if you hit a cow, you own it?). Raabe also shares the psychology of how to deal with hardened criminals and how to avoid a situation ending up in gunfire. This behind-the-scenes look accurately shows what a Nevada police officer goes through every day down to their thought process when approaching a situation. Raabe also acknowledges all the times when situations could have taken a turn for the worst or when a small mistake could’ve cost him his life, but somehow he got lucky.
Patrolling the Heart of the West can easily be digested in short spurts, but it’s possible that when you start reading this book that it will be impossible to put down. Anyone who has any sort of interest in Nevada will find that perceptions/first impressions are never what they seem, and final outcomes can be surprising. It is refreshing to view Nevada through the eyes of an officer and what they must deal with in managing the safety of its people in the Wild West.
The book is available to purchase in Reno and Carson City Costco stores. For more information or to order Steve Raabe’s Patrolling the Heart of the West directly, visit https://www.raabebooks.com/.