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‘It’s surreal to see it on paper’: Former Middletown police chief turns journal into new book

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Posted at 5:32 PM, Jan 01, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-01 22:52:00-05

MIDDLETOWN — Rodney Muterspaw, then a first-year police academy cadet, kept a daily journal as mental therapy.

“I had to write or drink, and sometimes it was a little of both,” he said.

Muterspaw, 52, a Middletown native, spent 30 years in law enforcement and retired in 2019 after five years as chief of the Middletown Division of Police. He never intended his “very personal journal” to become a book.

“It’s surreal to see it on paper,” he said.

After being encouraged to write a book by John Wager, pastor of First United Methodist Church in Middletown, he sent a copy to 1989 Pulitzer Prize winner Clarence Page, a Middletown native, and J.D. Vance, another Middletown native and author of the New York Times Best Seller that became a Netflix movie, “Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis.

Page and Vance were impressed by his journal, so he contacted a few publishers to gauge their interest.

But they wanted to turn his notes into a novel. That’s when Muterspaw decided to publish the book, “The Blue View: The uncut journal of an Ohio police chief.”

The book is available on Amazon and the audio version is expected to be released this week, he said. Muterspaw said “Blue View” is the No. 1 seller for police-related books on Amazon.

He said a test group of 15 people, including two police officers, read the draft of the book. One said: “This needs to be out there,” while another said: “Are you really going to release that?”

Muterspaw said it was important to include all aspects of his career, from the dark moments and the success stories. He left nothing out, he said.

“It had to be real,” he said.

He’s proud of the book because it “humanizes” police work and gives readers an insight into the profession.

“We need to do a better job with the community,” he said. “It’s time to open up the curtain. These are all the experiences of my life.”

There were times when, as police chief, his supervisors told him to lie to the media, he said. That bothered him, he said.

“That’s not me,” Muterspaw said. “There are some dark places in there.”

Because of the negative sentiment toward cops after police-involved shootings, especially of unarmed Black men, Muterspaw said it’s the “perfect time” to release the book.

“Some people hate the police, and that’s OK,” he said. “But there is a method behind the madness. Hopefully this gives readers a better idea of what we are about. We have a lot of failures. Nothing is as easy as you see on TV.”

After he retired, Muterspaw was offered police chief and city manager positions. But Julie, his wife of 29 years, discouraged those career moves and Muterspaw said he’s never been happier. He sells real estate for Berkshire Hathaway Realty and has time to care for his twin 5-year-old granddaughters, Lilly and Lainey.

HOW TO ORDER

TITLE: “The Blue View: The uncut journal of an Ohio police chief”

ORDER: Website: amazon.com

AUTHOR: Rodney Muterspaw, former Middletown police chief

MUTERSPAW FAMILY: wife Julie; children Matt, Lauren and Maddie; grandchildren Lilly and Lainey.