#87: Joe Loya, Former Bank Robber

Listen to the interview by clicking the arrow on the audio player below.

I wanted to speak with Joe Loya not because I see criminality as a career path, but because it is a life path for many:  it’s hard to find good information on the number of Americans who have been convicted of a felony, but one estimate from the Bureau of Justice Statistics holds that 1 in 37 U.S. adults has served time in a  state or federal prison. I wanted to hear Joe’s story: how he came to rob his first bank, what it was like to live a life on the run, and what has changed—and not changed—since then.

About Joe Loya: Joe Loya is an essayist, playwright, actor/director, and author of the critically-acclaimed memoir, “The Man Who Outgrew His Prison Cell: Confessions of a Bank Robber.” His essays have appeared in The LA Times, The UTNE Reader, McSweeney’s, and many anthologies. He is currently writing a book about being an ex-con dad trying to raise a good daughter. It’s titled, “Dada, Tell Me A Zombie Story.” (Like him, she loves all manner of resurrection narratives.)

Photo credits: ‘Before’ and ‘After’ provided by Joe Loya. Before (right): FBI surveillance photo from 1988. After: author photo taken by Reid Yalom, 2004. 

#86: Karen Lynch, Retired Homicide Detective

Listen to the interview by clicking the arrow on the audio player below.

In this interview, I spoke with Karen Lynch, a 29-year veteran of the San Francisco Police Department. We discussed what it was that drew her to a life in law enforcement, why the role of homicide detective was her “dream job,” and—very briefly—her perspective on the events unfolding in Ferguson, Missouri.

About Karen Lynch: Karen Lynch is a native San Franciscan. After graduating from UC Berekley, she joined the San Francisco Police Department in 1981. She lives in Novato with her husband and their three children, including Kyra, who was the subject of an essay that won the 2012 Notes & Words national essay contest.

Her memoir, Good Cop Bad Daughter, is the story of how growing up with a bi-polar mother trained Karen to be a cop.