Wives can be great companions and lots of fun, but from a cop’s perspective, an angry wife can be something else altogether. She can stop your heart. Of all my professional dealings with hostile women, two encounters really stand out.

It was my sixth year with the Wayne County Sheriff’s Department in Detroit, and I was assigned to uniformed motorized patrol at the Patrol and Investigation Division in western Wayne County. Six years on the force meant I no longer had to work nights, afternoons, or the shift that was toughest on the social life: seven at night to three in the morning. The best part of days was that if I had to go to court, I could do it while I was working—no more having to lose sleep. And I could go to college in the evening without any scheduling hassles.

It was a beautiful summer day, and I had just spent most of it in the 22nd District Court of Michigan, in the city of Inkster, a notoriously high-crime suburb west of Detroit. I was there because, three months before, on Thursday, March 4, 1976, a drunk ran a stop sign and slammed into my shiny black ’73 Ford LTD on Michigan Avenue in Inkster. I was still in uniform after finishing my shift in the scout car and making six arrests. So Jackie Wayne Giles, 36, became my seventh arrest that day.