In her latest book, alumna and Arma, Kan., native Helen Maxwell takes a look inside the Beverly Hills Police Department. The book, “Inside Beverly Hills PD,” contains stories about presidents, film stars and, according to Maxwell, ‘real’ police work.
The book, Maxwell said, provides a more accurate picture of the complexities of American law enforcement and is at the same time a fun read about film greats from silent film star Mary Pickford to Elvis Presley. According to Maxwell, many of the stories in the book have never been told before.
Maxwell said that when she was initially contacted about writing a book about the Beverly Hills PD, she declined.
“A book owns you for several years,” Maxwell said. “And, I didn’t think that much crime occurred in Beverly Hills. I wasn’t sure I could make a book about BHPD that interesting.”
Maxwell said she reconsidered the project after her husband, who had been medically evacuated out of the Iraq War, died in her arms. Burdened by grief, Maxwell said, she badly needed something to fill her life again.
“All our plans were gone, no Golden Years to look forward to,” Maxwell said.
Over the next four years, with the assistance of a retired BHPD investigator and Chief of Police David Snowden, a former brigadier general, Maxwell completed the book.
Some Pittsburg and Joplin residents may remember Maxwell, who received her bachelor’s degree from PSU in 1965 and then completed a master’s degree at Pitt State, both in music. She performed in PSU productions with film star Gary Busey. The two starred in Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” and “Dark of the Moon.” Maxwell was an on-air personality and television newswoman in Joplin and served on the board of Joplin Little Theater. In Hollywood, Maxwell performed with the Doodletown Pipers network television song and dance group. She later appeared on “Days of Our Lives” and did a lot of live theater.
Maxwell said her life changed when she fell victim to a stalker.
“I fell back on my education from Kansas and began a new career,” Maxwell said, “performing only once in awhile and only when the work
was during daytime hours.”
Maxwell said she now performs only benefit concerts.
She has been called upon as an expert on home intrusion and burglary multiple times by “CBS This Morning” and has been a consultant on “Prime Time Live.” She has been featured in the Washington Post and New York Times and has written for Law Enforcement Technology magazine and Police magazine, for the nation’s police community. She eventually ran a federal, college-accredited program in Los Angeles county that had working police officers from all over the county as trainers.
“It is a credit to the more fundamental educational standards in Kansas that I survived professionally,” she said. “Kansas tends to adhere to strong basic education, which allowed me to leap into a second career and succeed.”
Inside Beverly Hills PD is available on Amazon.com and through LawTech.com, which has been in criminal justice publishing for more than 30 years. •