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From Orphan to Police Officer

Duane was one of six siblings, one of two sets of twins, that were all abandoned when he was a child. He then became a ward of the Memphis, Tennessee, Juvenile Court System. As a child, he lived in a number of institutional settings: foster, group and children's homes, shelters, and detention facilities. In the ninth and tenth grades, he attended predominantly black schools and lived at a children's shelter. During this time of his life, while he was not a minority, he lived as one. At the age of sixteen, his Aunt Mary McNeill became his legal guardian, which kept him from being sent to a reform school.

Duane and his Aunt Mary lived in Gulfport, Mississippi. Duane attended Gulfport High School and played on the football team as a center. His senior year of high school the team was undefeated and won the state championship. Duane attended Mississippi State University on a football scholarship. He played on the offensive line and spent one year as a graduate assistant coach. He graduated with a degree in social work and a certificate in corrections.

Duane spent thirty-two years in law enforcement. Most of Duane's law enforcement career was with the Austin Police Department in Austin, Texas. This book is about his life's journey from being an orphan to becoming a police officer. The book was written with thanks to others in law enforcement, with hopes that they too, one day, will share their experiences with others in an effort to be sources of encouragement to each other.

--Duane McNeill

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