Sandy Springs police Capt. Steve Rose has punctuated his 35-year law enforcement career by telling tales. His crime reports include just enough snarky wit and sarcasm to secure a fan base for his column.
He says his writing is something he would continue even after fully retiring from law enforcement.
But, he’s not leaving Sandy Springs police; he’s transferring to a new job. And while he’s leaving his community outreach role to take on the duties of South District commander, he says he isn’t abandoning his “Weekly Wrap,” which he says has become world famous.
Rose has been adding his touch of humor to serious subjects in law enforcement and sharing it with the community for almost 15 years.
He retired from Fulton County Police in 2006, the day before he started with Sandy Springs police.
Rose, now 62, is married to a Sandy Springs detective, has two children and two step-children, one of whom works as a police officer in Atlanta. Five children call him Grandpa.
And still, he writes.
What has become Rose’s “Weekly Wrap,” started as private writing, Rose said.
Around 2001, he said he moved into “community work” with Fulton County police.
“I cranked up crime prevention because all our neighborhood watch programs had become obsolete and we were getting hammered in burglaries,” Rose said.
Email at the time was becoming more mainstream, so he said decided to send a series of reports to residents. “They were kind of dry,” he admitted of his reports. “Crime stats are dry anyway.”
He started incorporating the sometimes snarky humor of his private writing into his crime reporting, adding tips for residents to stay alert and avoid becoming victims. He said he wanted to make crime prevention tips interesting to read, while taking jabs at dumb criminals.
“The whole thing came from the idea that most of these criminals are basically idiots,” Rose said.
While Rose never minds offending just about anyone, and has quipped about distant drunken uncles and far-off “redneck” relatives, he prefers not to offend his wife.
Once, Rose wrote about how when you’re married to a police officer and you hear something go bump in the night, it’s not necessarily you who has to get up and check it out.
He said he finished his joke with a punch line about the difference being when he puts on his gun belt, he doesn’t ask if it makes his butt look big. “That’s a very sexist statement,” Rose admitted.
Though people had told Rose they were offended by him before, he said he never really cared because “everyone has an opinion.” But, when his wife returned home upset about the column, he apologized to her and thought to himself that he’d “learned a lesson,” he said.
So, is anything off-limits for the crime blotter? “I don’t like to make fun of victims even though some of them do some silly things,” he said.
His readers get the point.
Catherine Fuss joked that if she left her purse in the “steal me” spot of a grocery cart or failed to hide/take/lock items in her car, she would be “just asking for it.”
The Sandy Springs resident said she started following Rose’s “Weekly Wrap” in a local paper and subscribed again after reading about the email list on a NextDoor Neighbor website for her community.
“Capt. Rose’s ‘Weekly Wrap’ is a treasure, and I wish I had time to read it even more thoroughly than I do,” Fuss said. “The big draw for me is his sense of humor – great dry wit and good-natured sarcasm.”
Rose said after he promoted email subscription through the NextDoor Neighbor app, his readership expanded.
“I’ve got about 13 [Microsoft] Outlook groups inside Sandy Springs,” Rose said, adding that he got so many requests via NextDoor that he had to create two more groups.
And his readership is worldwide.
“I had a lady email me from Seattle, and one from Australia,” he said. They told him he was so unlike the “dry” and “robotic” officers they know.
Originally, his crime blotter emails went to neighborhood watch commanders, but his style “took off” from there, he said. An editor at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution asked him to start contributing to a regular column, which he later collected and in 2013 self-published in a book.
Neither Fulton County nor Sandy Springs police departments ever had a problem with Rose’s sarcasm, he said.
Sandy Springs Police Chief Ken DeSimone said he jokes with Rose about his readership.
DeSimone said that when the Dunwoody Police Department had its launch, he noticed which citizens recognized Rose.
“His biggest audience is of the older generation,” DeSimone said. “Anyone over 70 knows Steve Rose. Right then, I started teasing him.”
DeSimone agrees Rose does a great job with community outreach through his writing, but his work on the bigger programs—like the citizen’s academy and the volunteer citizens on patrol—go largely unnoticed, DeSimone said. People just don’t know that’s also part of Rose’s job in doing outreach.
The chief’s decision to transfer Rose to a district commander position comes from both a desire to give department captains new experiences and to promote Rose, DeSimone said. “He does a great job and this is a natural transition,” DeSimone said.
Capt. David Roskind, who often contributes to community outreach programs in his free time, will replace Rose.
“I’m very excited about transitioning into my new position,” Roskind said. “I can’t think of a better job or more rewarding job than to be directly working with the Sandy Springs community.”
DeSimone said Rose’s desire to continue his police publications will only be hindered by time and his new responsibilities. “He’ll be an on-duty scene commander,” DeSimone said. “He’ll get called out at 3 a.m. more.”
But, Rose said he will make time to show the other side of law enforcement officers—the human side—through his writing.
He said he and his law enforcement buddies “have stories that would basically make people cry, they’re so funny,” but the average person doesn’t get to see them that often.
Fuss said she knows that beneath the surface, Rose cares for her community and he desires to protect residents by informing them.
“Being aware of the crimes being committed is a wake-up call for me each time I skim the list,” Fuss said.
Rose agrees that preventing crime by informing citizens and criticizing criminals is the point.
“If you’re interested in seeing what smartass comment I’m going to make in the column, you’ll probably read the rest of it,” he said. “That’s the point. I’ll go back to people and ask did they pick up anything from it, and they’ll admit they learned something about identity theft or other methods to reduce opportunities for crimes.”