Archive Page - 08/16/13 41 years, 2,181 covers and 55,435 stories from PEOPLE magazine's history for you to enjoy
- The Bachelorette Contestant Draws Criticism for Joking on Twitter About Being Gay
- The Style Top 5: Taylor Swift Goes Wedding Dress Shopping (For Her BFF),
Celebs' Share Their Makeup-Free Selfies and More
- FROM EW: George R.R. Martin Won't Write Game of Thrones Season 6 Episode to Focus on Book
- Bruce Jenner to Pose for Cover of Vanity Fair, Sources Say
- How Residents in the Duggars' Town Are Reacting to Josh's Molestation Scandal: 'People Are Super Embarassed'
On Newsstands Now
- Matthew McConaughey: In His Own Words
- Jessa Duggar's Wedding Album
- Brittany Maynard's Final Days
Pick up your copy on newsstands
Click here for instant access to the Digital Magazine
People Top 5
LAST UPDATE: Tuesday February 10, 2015 01:10PM EST
PEOPLE Top 5 are the most-viewed stories on the site over the past three days, updated every 60 minutes
- June 12, 1995
- Vol. 43
- No. 23
Rhapsody in Blue
For Washington's Doo Wop Cops, Singing Isn't Just a Night Shtick—it's a Way of Teaching Kids to Play Safe
They call themselves D.C.'s Finest, but they are better known as the Doo Wop Cops, a group of retired and active Washington-area police officers who perform at nursing homes, hospitals and especially inner-city schools, where their mission is not just to entertain but also to promote responsibility—and survival. "The guns and the danger are out there every day," says baritone Deane Larkins, 48, an active-duty patrolman. "This is the worst I've ever seen, because of the drugs and the mentality of the kids, who have no respect for the law or for anything." In hopes of reversing that trend, they've come to Blow as part of A Time for Peace, a program at the school that tries to get kids to resolve differences nonviolently in a neighborhood where disputes often end in gunfire. "It sounds like a wonderful program," retired Det. Jimi Bethel, 48, the group's bass and manager, booms to the kids. "But who can tell me about it?"
A little girl in a pink sweat suit raises her hand, then gets too shy to say anything. Six-year-old Tyrina Lee takes a shot. "We don't talk to bullies, and we don't smoke," she says, to huge applause from the other children. "And we don't fight with people that can hurt us," adds 4-year-old Maurice Primrose. After another round of applause, the Doo Wop Cops step back into musical character, belting out the classic hit "Blue Moon."
Bethel and Larkins and their fellow Finests—retired Det. Ron Jones, 49, and Reamer "Junebug" Shedrick, 47, a member of Mayor Marion Barry's security detail—were old friends who began making music together 10 years ago. Retired dispatcher Rich Collins, 49, joined the group in 1990. "We'd run into each other, and sometimes we'd just step down the hall and get to singing," says Jones. "It was so much fun."
After performing at the wedding of a fellow police officer in 1985, they went on to win a local talent show, then took their act on the road—including to the Apollo Theater in New York City—and to the streets. Billing themselves as entertainers, role models and counselors, the Doo Wops perform mostly for free. (In September 1993 they sang at Gen. Colin Powell's retirement party, where guests included the Clintons and the Bushes.)
Part of their strategy is to show that police "can do something other than lock people up," says Jones, whose 22-year-old son, Ron Jr., was shot dead in a traffic dispute in 1990. When the Doo Wop Cops finish up with Hard to Say Goodbye, they always dedicate it to the memory of Roy Jr. To prevent such loss, "we need thousands of guys like us to talk to the kids," says Bethel. "Because you'd be surprised, so many of them do want to listen."
KATE McKENNA in Washington
- Kate McKenna.
Treat Yourself! 4 Preview Issues
The most buzzed about stars this minute!