16 May 2006

tommy cicardo book signing

former alexandria police chief tommy cicardo will sign his book "because they could" for you at walden books in the alexandria mall saturday 27 may 2006 from 2pm till 4pm. confirmed by pam at walden books 318.443.4620

in his own words: here is chief cicardo's reply for our request for comment by way of cenla antics blog:

"Law enforcement was my life and still is in my heart. My book, in no way, diminishes the
the passion most police officers feel in doing this difficult job.

We can only hope that criticism will come AFTER the book is read!"

Thomas Cicardo

here is a review written by mandy goodnight for the alexandria, louisiana daily town talk:

Alemette, La., sure seems a lot like Alexandria, La.

The resemblances are uncanny, but former Alexandria Police Chief Tommy Cicardo insists his book, "Because They Could," which is set in Alemette, is a work of fiction.
Cicardo's 200-page paperback, though, appears to be nothing more than a gossip column about a Louisiana town veiled as a work of literary fiction.
Like gossip, there are elements of the truth woven into each tale, and the story comes from the perception of only one person -- the storyteller.

Tony Caruso, the main character, clearly believes that the way he sees each situation unfold is the entire truth.

However, everyone sees life through his or her rose-colored glasses.

Caruso comes across as a "can't be wrong" person who doesn't make mistakes. Never once does he screw up, botch a case or handle a situation in what he thinks is a wrong way.

After one of his officers is arrested in his department's prostitution sting and then is allowed to resign without being arrested, these were Caruso's thoughts: "The media beat Tony up quite a bit and several letters to the newspaper editor were published concerning double standards. The chief (Caruso) took it and waited for his assistant chief to step forward, but he never did. That alone told Tony a lot about this man."

Caruso's response to events gives readers a veiled look into the character's personality.

"Really, it would be miserable for him (an assistant chief); Tony thought of a few places he could bury him in the department. He could work straight nights supervising the trustees cleaning the building, or supervising the dog pound. But Tony decided if he went and asked him to help run the department, it would show him that he was a good and forgiving person. It worked."

The only personality trait that seemed to slip into the book directly about Caruso came through the eyes of Alemette's mayor and his staff. A friend of Caruso told him that the cities' authorities feared he was "thin-skinned."

While no underside of Caruso is revealed, it didn't stop the main character from personally attacking others.

He singled out officers, politicians and members of the media, describing their personality traits or life situations. One officer was described as a person who ordered one side of a restaurant menu and another as being "a man trapped in a woman's body."

There were attacks on a law enforcement officer who was accused of covering up the misdeeds of his son and of a mayor who was never in town.

"Because They Could" is void of a central theme, unless you count blaming the newspaper for most everything that happened to the central character.

For example, Tim Thibodeaux opened fire on police officers from inside a barricaded house. Two of the Alemette officers and Thibodeaux died.

"However, what pushed Thibodeaux was the biased reporting of the 'Alemette Journal,' keeping tensions high to sell newspapers (because they could), and driving Thibodeaux to wage war against the APD," according to Caruso's thoughts.

If you are interested in law enforcement, the book is a gritty view into the world of crime scenes and the life of police officers. There is a lot of vulgar language and gruesome descriptions of rape and murder scenes.

Some people will still see the book as a "tell all" and will read it to see if they can find someone who resembles them or someone they know.

The book has been the buzz around the Alexandria Police Department and many circles within the community as each person has his or her own idea of whether "Because They Could" is a work of fiction or not.

Originally published July 24, 2005
this was the town talk's july 2005 man on the street reaction to chief cicardo's book :

Reaction to book mixed

Some people have called it "sleazy" and "garbage" while others term it "required reading."

Former Alexandria Police Chief Tommy Cicardo's book, "Because They Could," has caused some lively discussions throughout Alexandria.

"Everyone knows this is not a fictional book," Alexandria Fire Chief Paul Smith said. "It is sleazy. I think a police chief that writes about his term is unethical."

Smith and many other city employees and public servants have found a resemblance to themselves within the 200-page book.

Cicardo said Friday that if readers find someone like themselves in the book, it is just a coincidence. "I didn't write it to hurt anyone," he said. "I wrote a book of fiction."

Wanda McGowen of Alexandria answered a Town Talk online survey about "Because They Could." She said the book should be "required reading for every Alexandria taxpayer."

She described the book as well-written and "without malice."

"I don't read garbage," was the only reaction Alexandria City Council President Charles F. Smith Jr. had. He hadn't read the book and had no intentions to pick up a copy. He did say that others had told him one of the characters was him.

Alexandria Mayor Ned Randolph also hadn't read the controversial book but had heard enough about it that he planned to read it.

Paul Smith said everyone with whom he had talked was upset about the book, and he personally was offended by the book's reference to the Alemette fire chief not asking for firefighters to be included in a memorial to honor the city's heroes killed in the line of duty when the city marshal asked to be included.

The fire chief said he took that as a shot at the fire department, which wanted to be a part of Alexandria's Heroes Memorial, which honors fallen police officers and a deputy city marshal. "I asked to be a part of that memorial," he said.

The fire chief added that Cicardo "has a lot of skeletons in his own closet."

Former Alexandria assistant police chief and interim chief Gary Moore said the book "is about actual events but with a slant to make Tony Caruso look like he was the most perfect policeman to ever work."

Moore said names have been changed, but the law-enforcement community knows each character's true identity.

"It is a shame that he dedicates this trash to two officers who gave their lives for the protection of the city, that Tony Caruso trashes in this book," Moore said.

The book is dedicated to Officers Jay Carruth and David Ezernack, who were killed in a Feb. 20, 2003, shootout on Wise Street.

The shootout events described in the book mirror that 2003 event, Moore said.

Cicardo is describing events as they were described to him by "officers that were in fact there" and was told of one of the officer's death via telephone, because he had gone home -- not to the hospital to be with the officers or their families, Moore said.

The book hurts the images of the police department and the city, he added.

Alexandria Police Chief Daren Coutee agrees.

"My only question is, 'Why anyone would want to write this?'" Coutee said. "It doesn't help this organization and the community perception. It doesn't help Alexandria as a whole."

The book has been the buzz at the city's Public Safety Complex, but most officers said they didn't want to publicly discuss the book.
"Because They Could"
Paperback: 274 pages
Publisher: patterson printing co,
benton harbor michican 49022

ISBN: 0977908801
*available online or in stores*