Book review: Jim Cirillo’s Tales of the Stakeout Squad by Paul Kirchner

Jim Cirillo’s Tales of the Stakeout Squad by Paul Kirchner is the closest thing to a biography there is of one of the most famous law enforcement officers of the last 50 years. Jim Cirillo is one of the few who survived over 17 shootouts. Aside from his police work, he also taught his firearms knowledge to others as an instructor. Tragedy struck when he died in a car accident in 2007.

Here’s the review:

book review - Jim Cirillo's Tales Of The Stakeout Squad


Tales of the Stakeout Squad

The book begins with a short review Cirillo’s life: growing up in a working class family, getting married and having kids, his career as a police officer and firearms instructor. This chapter is perhaps shorter than I’d personally have liked be but most readers will probably anxiously skip through it to get to the “juicy” part: information on the firefights he was in.

In the following chapters, the author describes Cirilo’s life as a rookie police officer, his work with the Stake Out Squad, Emergency Service Unit, his life outside of the job and his competition record. In the last chapter, people who knew him reminisce on his life and tell some stories of how they remember him.

The author often uses interviews with Cirillo, his family, friends and colleagues, to describe both him and his life. This makes for a nice change from other biographies as you get more of a feel for what the man was like and how his environment saw him. Another positive side to this is in the description of the same incident by both Cirillo and then his colleagues. This gives us a clearer picture of what happened and also illustrates the effects adrenal stress can have on your perception .

The negative side is that you don’t get the same amount of details as you are perhaps looking for. This book is not an after-incident report, nor a scientific analysis of shootouts, so if that’s what you want to read, you’ll be disappointed. However, you still get loads of unique information on both the man and the firefights he was in.



Jim Cirillo’s Tales of the Stakeout Squad is a must-have if you’re a police officer or firearms enthusiasts. It gives a clear account of what an officer might face when he has to uses his weapon and the consequences of taking a life. The inclusion of the interviews also makes it as if Mr. Cirillo is speaking directly to you from the pages, which is a nice touch and makes for easy reading.

This is a great book, one I can recommend without hesitation.

book review  Jim Cirillo's Tales Of The Stakeout Squad


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