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Police Car Lights

Peanut Butter Memoirs


Peanut Butter Memoirs is a sometimes humorous, sometimes serious, but always true reflection of my career in law enforcement. The book highlights the years before becoming an officer, my training at the state police academy, my early years on the streets, and working for the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency.  

The Evolution of Peanut Butter Memoirs

PBM had taken over 7 years to complete. Throughout the process it was rewritten and heavily edited (otherwise it would have been twice as long). It has also undergone three cover design changes. The first was created by my original publisher. Later, after retaining the copyrights and undertaking the journey of self-publishing, I created the second cover. Ultimately this year, I designed the final cover. All three are below.




Shelley Burbank, Author

December 26, 2023


Peanut Butter Memoirs by David Wilson


In his delightful PEANUT BUTTER MEMOIRS, humorist and veteran law enforcement officer David Wilson gives readers an entertaining inside view of the great state of Maine’s criminal justice system from dispatch to the Drug Enforcement Agency and just about everything in between.


In these pages, you’ll hear about petty criminals and more serious offenders galore. Wilson introduces readers to the likes of Dumont Shittake, Mr. Pusherman, Chew-Toy and Dog-Boy, and Nitwits One and Two, just to name a few of the hilariously-nicknamed characters in the book. Along the way, Wilson shares stories of the intense training given at the Maine Criminal Justice Academy, run-ins with sketchy dudes on backwoods camp roads, the many ways incarcerated “entrepreneurs” run their drug stores from inside the prison system, teenage gangsta warfare in “downtown” Guilford, and one memorable tale about a body that went undiscovered–along with his motorcycle– in an unmown grassy ditch for several hot summer days.


Along with the stories, we get snippets of Wilson’s philosophy of life informed by his role as one of the heroes who have chosen to serve and protect the rest of us at sometimes great danger and harm to themselves. Do I agree with him 100 percent? No, and you might not either; however, seeing criminal justice from this droll, sometimes deadpan account of a life in law enforcement gives us a chance to see situations from a new perspective, and that’s important if we claim and/or aim to be well-informed, open-minded, and fair.


Wilson’s voice is colloquial with a hint of sarcasm, and you can almost imagine you are sitting across from him at Dunkin and listening while he tells you a story. [Though there are some grammatical irregularities in the prose, they don’t detract too much from the storytelling. I only mention it in case you are the kind of reader who can’t get over the occasional booboo. Forewarned is forearmed.]


As I read the asides regarding plea bargaining, convictions, and sentencing, I grew a bit disheartened. Once arrests are made and reports written, a police officer’s work is basically done. The rest is up to district attorneys and the judicial system. I was struck by how much time, effort, and money goes into investigation and arrests only to have many cases dropped, plea bargains made, sentences reduced, and criminals released back into society with no rehabilitation. Perhaps our society needs to think a bit more about what we can do to rehabilitate, if possible, and to educate ahead of time to prevent crime from happening in the first place.


For example, I couldn’t help but wonder what has gone wrong in society when I read here about rival teenage gangs shooting and maiming each other (and taking up stuff like graffiti “tagging”) in a rural Maine town like Guilford, Maine. Did these youths get inspired from watching productions of WEST SIDE STORY? Or reading S.E. Hinton’s THE OUTSIDERS? Doubtful. Perhaps it’s worth asking ourselves how “culture” is spread and how we might encourage a more healthy cultural landscape throughout our society.


Wilson doesn’t indulge in self-pity, but he does share some of the personal sacrifices he (and we can extrapolate these out to most, if not all law enforcement personnel plus other first responders) make in order to protect the rest of us. He writes: “It seemed no one was ever to blame, except the victims or the police. It was all ‘society’s fault.’ I suppose just like anything else, it just gets tiring when every single day you go out and do your job to the best of your abilities just so the offenders can play a game, pleas to lesser charges, and be back out on the streets wandering around society just so they can violate again.” In other words, what about the CRIMINAL being to blame for what happens to him/her? What about the choices the criminal makes to create a situation? This issue affects us all, if not in our encounters with offenders then in our tax bills.


Finally, at the end of the book, Wilson serves up his promised “Death By Peanut Butter” chapter, ending the book on a tragic-comic note. If you like Maine humor similar to Tim Cotton’s Detective in the Dooryard, if you enjoy an insider’s look at law enforcement, or if you are simply looking for a different kind of memoir set in rural Maine, this one might do the trick for you.


Susan Smith

March 28, 2024

You wouldn’t think that the memoirs of a police officer would be funny, would you? Well, read David Wilson’s book and you’ll be amazed. Near the end of the first chapter, which gave a little back story on his early years. he made me laugh so hard I almost spit out my ice cream.

Next he tells about his job as a dispatcher in the police department in Maine, which taught him a lot about law enforcement. Wilson writes with a style that is “matter of fact” but also full of sarcasm and irony. He’s writing about some serious incidents, like domestic violence, but somehow it makes you chuckle. In fact, for a moment as you go along you think, “Oh, darn, he’s getting serious now.” But, no, the joke is lying in wait to pounce on you when you are off your guard. I think that must be a good way to be when you are thinking ahead to being a policeman. I mean you can’t be anxious all the time, and you shouldn’t be a mean bully either.

Wilson writes about serious but comical situations the police are in, while he is safe in the dispatch office, but going nuts trying to do his job. In chapter four, he is now working as Director of Public Welfare, and tells some hysterical stories about freeloaders and how he handles them. After a while, he decided to go to the Criminal Justice Academy and see more of the action, and there are plenty of stories about the academy, it’s intensive training and how the guys coped with it all. There are stories there that I’d like to tell you, but I won’t. But read them yourself and be ready to have your sides bursting. You’ll learn new vocabulary, like “gig” and the purpose of “stuffed pigs”. He tells some amusing stories about fellow officers in training (well, cops are human too), and what they all have to deal with on a daily basis in order to get toughened up for the job ahead. I’ll spare you the worst trial before graduation in case any of you are thinking of becoming a police officer. Our hero did pass the tests and graduate from the Academy.

Wilson continues with a chapter on dealing with illegal drug users and speed limit violators. There are some very serious commentaries interspersed with side-splitting humor. He tells about rescuing a child; going on to become a Drug Recognition Expert with the help of Lynyrd Skynyrd; a government paid trip to North Carolina; transporting a criminal; helping an old man with a flat tire…..the stories go on and are so funny and serious at the same time.


I’m not going to tell you anymore, and you have to wait to learn the significance of the peanut butter.

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