"Be prepared, son. That's my motto. Be prepared."Joseph Cornelius "Joe" Hallenbeck is a detective of the police department, a position he reached through a truly rocky path. Hallenbeck spent 13 years in the US military, attached to the 82nd Airborne Division, which led him to fight in the 1991 Gulf War as well as the 1999 Kosovo War. His sustained acts of heroism and risk of life in actual combat earned him the Army Commendation Medal and later the Silver Star.
- Joe Hallenbeck
"What'd you do last night?Hallenbeck's recovery from his nearly fatal injuries went astray. While the President and the American public quite quickly forgot about him and his heroic exploit to focus on their fear of the millennium bug, Hallenbeck's post-traumatic disorder resurfaced with violent strength during his hospitalisation. When he returned home in late September 1999, his temper had worsened, his arguments with his wife Sarah became recurrent, and he often raised his voice at their daughter Darian. After his wife and him separated during the Christmas holidays, Hallenbeck insisted to return to work and so did he. After a few low-profile missions, he was assigned to the protection team of US Senator Calvin Baynard during his 2000 presidential campaign. By that time, however, Hallenbeck had started to drink heavily and regularly, mainly as a result of the tough divorce procedure his wife had initiated, and the bitter fight they were having over the custody of their teenage daughter. Combined with increasingly disturbing nightmares from the war and frequent insomnia, these factors affected Hallenbeck's level of stress and one night, as he was on duty in a hotel where Baynard was staying, he heard the senator physically abusing his one-night stand and took upon him to storm the room and violently punch his protectee, freeing the woman from the abuse but also putting an end to his short-lived Secret Service career.
I think I fucked a squirrel to death, and don't remember."
- Mike Matthews, then Joe Hallenbeck
"Yeah, I believe in love; I believe in cancer."A few weeks later, in June 2001, Hallenbeck was offered a job as a detective by the Chief of Police, which he accepted. Three months later, Hallenbeck and Sarah settled over their divorce and agreed on a joint custody of Darian, then almost 16. In the following years, he succeeded in building a solid reputation of incorruptible, dedicated and hard-working detective, although sometimes heavy-handed when dealing with suspects and convicts. His subordinates and superiors hold him in high esteem and criminals have quickly learned that behind Hallenbeck stood an entire police force, ready to support and defend him at any time. Boosting his self-confidence, sharpening his investigative skills, increasing his abilities in the field, that new job gave Hallenbeck a second breath. Having to sometimes fight off relapses into his alcohol and sleeping pills addiction, and his often violent approach to conflict resolution, Hallenbeck is nevertheless reborn as a new man, hitting the streets of the city "to protect and to serve".
- Joe Hallenbeck