C. M. Wendelboe entered the law enforcement profession when he was discharged from the Marines as the Vietnam war was winding down.
In the 1970s he worked in South Dakota towns bordering three Indian reservations. He spent the initial one-third of his career working the streets as well as assisting federal and tribal law enforcement agencies embroiled in conflicts with American Indian Movement activists in other towns and on other reservations, including Pine Ridge.
He moved to Gillette, Wyoming, and found his niche, where he remained a sheriff’s deputy for over twenty-five years. In addition, he was a longtime firearms instructor with his agency, as well as an instructor at the local college and within the community.
He had served successful stints as police chief, tactical team member, and other supervisory roles for several agencies during his thirty-eight year career in law enforcement—yet he always has felt most proud of “working the street.” He was a patrol supervisor when he retired to pursue his vocation as a writer.
Wendelboe now revisits the Pine Ridge and Rosebud Reservations for research and recreation. He lives within a morning’s drive of Devils Tower, Bear Butte, the Black Hills, and the Badlands—“tourist sites” that are sacred places to the Lakota people. The distance of geography and expanse of time has accorded him an appreciation of their culture and spirituality. His developing awareness of their diverse perspectives on historical and contemporary issues is reflected in the themes of his Spirit Road Mysteries.