nion area resident Jim Glasscock has binders in his “man cave” that help tell the tales of his life.
One binder is filled with newspaper clippings, photographs, commendations and even some cartoons he drew while with the St. Louis Police Department.
In another binder are a collection of QSL cards, which are mementos from the people he has met while an amateur radio operator, also known as ham radio.
Glasscock, who turns 78 in December, is a St. Louis native who graduated from Southwest High School.
After he graduated from high school, he attended classes at Washington University, first in the fine arts school, and later in the business school.
Neither of those areas worked out for Glasscock. He already was in the U.S. Naval Reserves and asked to be put on active duty.
He had first been stationed at Lambert Field and later was transferred to Oceana, Va., where he was stationed for two years.
“I was in Cuba a few times, and Gitmo,” Glasscock said. “I also flew out of Massachusetts for a while.”
After serving, he joined the police department in Norfolk, Va., and that was his first step toward a lifelong career in law enforcement.
His brother served on the St. Louis Police force, and after talking with him on the phone, Glasscock realized that he could make better money back home in St. Louis.
That was when he and his wife, Delores, made the move.
After graduating from the academy, Glasscock was hired onto the force and first was in a “scout” car.
“Then they handed me a nightstick and told me to start walking the beat,” he said. “I walked it for two years.”
It was five years after he was with the department that Glasscock got a big break.
His captain told him to take an old, green undercover car and bust some juveniles who were breaking parking meters and stealing change.
“They would get 35-40 cents in change, sometimes a buck, and do $50 in damage,” he remembers.
Once Glasscock and another officer were on the case for about three weeks, they had deterred the thefts.
“Every time a meter broke, we had the guy locked up — the juveniles were afraid” he said. “The captain was impressed.”
After those arrests, Glasscock’s captain told him to use the undercover car and try to find a man who had been burglarizing area homes.
Glasscock said the man would wait for residents to leave their homes in the morning and would kick in the front door “as soon as they pulled away from the curb.”
After getting the assignment, Glasscock joked with his captain that he would have the burglar arrested by noon.
As soon as Glasscock drove into the area, he saw a man carrying several items, including a shotgun, walking along the road.
“The guy was weighed down in loot,” Glasscock said. “I jumped out of the car, he dropped everything and started running.”
After an extensive foot chase, Glasscock eventually caught the man. They suspected he was responsible for 16-17 burglaries.
“We recovered a lot of loot,” he said. “It (his home) looked like a Famous-Barr warehouse.”
It was just a few days later that Glasscock was promoted to detective.
Glasscock was with the detective bureau for 16 years. He worked, and solved, hundreds of cases. He also was recognized for many high-profile arrests.
In 1980, Glasscock was promoted to sergeant and transferred to head up the “liquor and morality” division. He was there for more than eight years.
The cases he was in charge of included major prostitution rings that made the headlines of St. Louis newspapers.
After the “liquor and morality” division, Glasscock was transferred to work in the crime prevention division. There, he helped businesses prevent crime through education and the installation of alarms.
His final transfer took him back to where he started — working the streets.
“I stayed there until I retired,” he said. “I always enjoyed it. I liked being in the streets. That’s where the fun its.”
Glasscock retired from the force in 1991.
Glasscock has been operating a ham for more than 50 years, and he had talked to hundreds of other ham radio operators across the world.
“I’ve talked to somebody everywhere that can take a (signal) transfer,” he said,“people all over the world and places that you have never heard of.”
Glasscock is a “DX (or distance) chaser” — someone who seeks out hams operating across the United States and other countries all over the world.
He’s collected QSL cards from ham stations all over the world including North Korea, Malta, Tanzania, Libya, Malawi and Jamaica. These post card-sized cards feature images and all of the pertinent information for that ham.
“That is part of the fun,” he said.
Glasscock’s station is W0FF, and he is a member of the Zero Beaters ARC.
For ham radio users, English is a universal language, so Glasscock is able to communicate with hams in other countries through traditional conversation.
However, for the small percentage who don’t speak English, Glasscock communicates with “Q signals” derived from Morse Code to ask questions.
There is a major conference for ham operators each year in Dayton, Ohio, where Glasscock has met people he had spoken to face to face.
Jim and Delores have been married 55 years. They moved to the Union area in the early 1990s.
The couple have three daughters and one son, as well as several grandchildren.
Glasscock turns 78 in December, just before Christmas.
“I get a sock for my birthday and two days later I get another sock — that makes a pair,” he jokes.