Alexandria, VA – Reporter, police officer, published author. Mark Bergin has worn many hats, and on Saturday, Aug. 3, he read a passage from his first novel, “Apprehension.” The work was more than 30 years in the making, and although it’s fiction, it’s based on his 28 years with the Alexandria Police Department.
“I always wanted to write a book, and I tried to write a book that was real,” Bergin told a packed house at the Alexandria Police Foundation headquarters. “I’m hoping I write something that my cop friends can read and say, ‘Yeah, that’s what we go through.’”
The book is set in Alexandria in 1988 – two years after Bergin joined the force and during the crack epidemic that devastated communities throughout D.C., Maryland, and Virginia. Bergin was inspired to write a cop drama during that period, and wrote the general outline for the book, which was left untouched until he retired in 2014.
“I can just imagine how many more books will be coming out of you,” former Alexandria Mayor Allison Silberberg told the author during a quick question and answer period.
Bergin’s alter-ego is Alexandria Police Detective John Kelly, who is personally compromised in the investigation of a brutal case. The story, which is the first in a series that Bergin is writing, is about also about police suicide, and a portion of the proceeds from the book will go toward prevention programs.
Bergin graduated from Boston University with a journalism degree and then worked for four years with the Alexandria Gazette. He joined the Alexandria Police Department in 1986, was twice named the officer of the year for narcotics and robbery investigations and retired in 2004 after suffering two heart attacks.
“I chose Alexandria for my setting because I know Alexandria,” Bergin said. “It wasn’t until I got here, got to know the officers, got to ride around with them as a cops and courts reporter with the Alexandria Gazette that I really realized that cops are real people.”