True Story

Uniform Decisions End of Watch Publishing presents “Uniform Decisions: My Life in the LAPD and the North Hollywood Shootout,” by Retired LAPD Officer John Caprarelli.

February 28, 1997, Los Angeles, California — After a botched robbery at a Bank of America branch in North Hollywood, two robbers armed with fully automatic assault rifles and wearing full body armor fired more than 1,100 rounds as they battled police.

Eleven officers and two civilians were wounded. The two robbers, Emil Matasareanu and Larry Eugene Phillips Jr., were killed by gunfire.

Officer John Caprarelli was one of the first officers at the scene. Before a national TV audience, he confronted one of the robbers, provoking a gun battle and exchanging numerous shots before the gunman fell.

Officer Caprarelli was awarded the LAPD’s highest honor, the Medal of Valor, as well as a National Top Cops Award. In this memoir, John gives the reader a rare glimpse into his private life along with vivid recollections of events during his 27 year career with the LAPD culminating with a detailed breakdown of his thoughts and actions during the infamous bank robbery.

44 Minutes of Terror

NORTH HOLLYWOOD (CBS) — It’s one of those events that everyone has a story about. The date was February 28, 1997. Where were you when the North Hollywood shootout happened? LAPD Officer John Caprarelli didn’t get to watch it unfold live on TV like most of us — he was on the frontlines. Click Here to Read More

Editorial Review
John Caprarelli has many life experiences to share about growing up in the San Fernando Valley, a suburb of Los Angeles. His book “Uniform Decisions” is not only about the famous botched bank robbery of February, 1997, where two armed assailants were killed and over eleven hundred rounds of ammunition were spent, but it is about his personal life of how to accept and adapt as a husband, father and police officer. The blend of these three aspects can be hard and complicated.In this one hundred and eighty-seven page biographical story, John takes the reader from his childhood days in private school and marrying his high school sweetheart through the nuances and drills of the police academy and into the every day life of one who “serves and protects.” With twenty-seven years in the LAPD, he covers both the banal and fascinating stories while in different law enforcement venues, from the beat on the streets, filling out endless paperwork to dealing with the first dead body or going undercover and snagging a drug dealer. However, the focal point of the book is the robbery itself and its toll on the officers involved. The book not only includes photographs of the famous shoot-out but also of his parents, wife and children.Towards the end of the book, John blends how he personally dealt with the aftermath of the shooting and health-related issues that altered his lifestyle which led to his retirement. In addition to taking a look at himself and changing areas of his life, he deals with his core beliefs and Christian values from his upbringing. He explains how the LAPD used to handle (or lack thereof) post traumatic stress syndrome. Due to this particular shooting, many police departments across America have changed their follow-up practices and protocols involving attitudes and behaviors toward their officers.

If you want a deep perspective how a policeman views his stressful job, co-workers, diversified work situations and most of all, his faith and determination, this book covers it. It is easy to read and engaging, forcing the reader to want to know what will happen on the next page. Besides capturing historical events of the famous robbery, it is a helpful book to pass on to someone contemplating joining the police force by explaining realistically its perks and pitfalls. Kudos to John for writing his book personally “like it was and is” and how he grew up and matured, both mentally and spiritually, in law enforcement.

Link to Blog Review

Reader Reviews

  • Enlightening and Educational – A Compelling Read!

    An insightful book of not only an eyewitness report of the harrowing 1997 North Hollywood shootout, but also a personal […]

  • The Best Book!

    This is a great book! Being read from a police officer’s perspective you really get many more details. Filled with […]

  • Compelling, Couldn’t Put It Down

    Personal, real and told from the heart; John’s story is powerful. You will feel more like a participant, than a […]

  • Bravery Under Fire

    This book is a great account of an officer’s worst nightmare. Those of us who sit behind desks or talk […]

  • Cop Tells It As It Is

    John Caprarelli has many life experiences to share about growing up in the San Fernando Valley, a suburb of Los […]

  • Highly recommend this book!

    I’ve always enjoyed hearing personal stories from police officers, and John tells the simple truth of what its like being […]

  • Good Read for Anyone

    I asked for and received this book for Christmas. I heard about it from interviews about the anniversary of the […]

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