For This Glynn County Officer, Crime Prevention Can Be Magic; the 27-Year Veteran Has Penned Two Books on Sleight of Hand

Article excerpt

Byline: TERESA STEPZINSKI

ST. SIMONS ISLAND - A deck of cards and well-practiced patter are as essential as Glenn Hester's badge, gun and handcuffs.

Magic has been part of Hester's police work throughout his 27-year law enforcement career. The Glynn County patrol officer has incorporated magic in crime prevention presentations for young children, physics lessons for middle school students and used his practiced eye for sleight of hand to expose crooked carnival game operators.

Hester, 56, is sharing his experiences as a police magician and carnival game fraud investigator in two recently published books: "Police Magician: Law Enforcement Legerdemain for Police Prestidigitators and Conjuring Cops" and "Carnival Cop."

About 80 pages each, the books are highlighted with personal anecdotes amid illustrations and photographs detailing the tricks of the trade. Both are revised, expanded and updated versions of previous manuals authored by Hester, who has taught law enforcement officers throughout Georgia and in several other states.

"'Police Magician' is about magic with a message. ... It's geared toward law enforcement officers and fellow magicians," Hester said.

Because magic is an effective tool to educate and entertain, it can make be incorporated into crime prevention programs to hold the audience and get across the message, he said. The book details tricks and routines for crime and drug abuse prevention and for school safety programs.

"The main thing is, when I teach a course, I want it to be interesting and entertaining because then people will remember it more," he said.

The book includes instructions about using police puppets to teach children about "stranger danger" and how to deal with bullying," he said.

"Magic was always fun to watch, and I always wanted to know how things were done," Hester said.

At an early age, Hester began studying sleight of hand, the laws of physics and the art of misdirection, all of which combine to make magic work.

The carnival book focuses on Hester's experiences investigating carnival game fraud beginning when he was started his law enforcement career as a Sullivan County, N.Y., sheriff's deputy in 1983.

"I have to admit, I love deception. I have since I was a kid and got involved with magic," he said. "On a certain level, I admire the ingeniousness in the way the fraud is conducted."

His book explains techniques used to rig carnival games, and instructions on how to detect such fraud. …