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TCU 360

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Former police officer publishes manuscript

After a 30-year career with the Fort Worth Police Department, a retired police sergeant and TCU alumnus published his first book, which chronicles the history of the Fort Worth Police Department.Dale Hinz, 58, retired from the department in 1999, but returned to work as background investigator in 2001. This is when he began the six-year process of researching and writing “Panther’s Rest: History of the Fort Worth Police Department 1873 – 21st Century,” which was published by AuthorHouse in July.

“I wanted these young guys that are coming up in the police department to know something about their history and how they got here,” the Fort Worth native said.

The book begins with Fort Worth history and then transitions into department history, including the city’s first black officer in 1873, the city’s gangster era in the 1940s and 1950s and on through the 21st century, Fort Worth officer Tom Wielderhold said.

The book’s name, “Panther’s Rest,” came from a story about a lawyer who lived in Fort Worth in about 1873, during one of the city’s worst depressions, Hinz said.

During this time, Hinz said, Fort Worth and Dallas were rivals much like today, and when the lawyer moved to Dallas, he wrote an article for a Dallas paper describing Fort Worth as being “so drowsy he once saw a panther resting on the courthouse steps.”

Instead of taking offense to the article, Hinz said, people embraced the name Panther City and began naming companies, organizations and even the fire station after the nickname – hence the name Panther’s Rest.

“I am really looking forward to reading the book and sharing it with my children when they are older, so they know something about the department’s history and can gain a better understanding of what I do,” officer Sara Straten said. Straten went through police training under Hinz.

Hinz went to Arlington Heights High School and pursued a degree in criminal justice at Stephen F. Austin for three years, but he said partying took priority over studies and poor grades resulted in his suspension. In 1970 he moved back to Fort Worth and joined the Police Department.

In the mid-1970s he enrolled at TCU, when the city was paying for officers to get a college degree. He graduated with a criminal justice degree in 1978, and that evening, Hinz married his wife Kathy, who he’s been with since.

Hinz also writes articles for the department’s monthly magazine, “Signal 50.” Hinz’s work in the magazine entails parts of the department history and how they affect the department over time, Wielderhold said.

“I didn’t realize what kind of rich history we have, both in the department and in Fort Worth, until I started reading Dale’s articles,” Straten said.

Hinz said he has published an article in nearly every issue of “Signal 50” since 2003 and wants to compile those articles into his next book. He said he also may include other writers’ articles from the magazine.

Hinz has worked as a police dispatcher, patrolman, SWAT team member, detective, sergeant, member of the internal affairs division and day shift sergeant, according to a press release from the AuthorHouse.

He also helped start the first Officer Survival Training School and instructed police-related courses in the recruit academy.

Today, Hinz said, he works for the FWPD conducting extensive background checks on new recruits from departments throughout the Metroplex.

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