Monthly Archives: December 2016

Focal point or focal points 

It’s been about 24 days since I’ve written about my life’s reflections.

So as we start 2017, let’s get back to work.

From Dec. 7th post:

So I went on the blind date and it was actually a double date. The friends that set us up also joined us.  The date was a great time and we had a lot of fun. Putt Putt Golf and then dinner and drinks in Annapolis. I actually called out from work that night. I was working midnights at the time.

As time proceeded and we got to know each other, we fell in love and got married. We definitely had some great times living life together. She had a daughter, I had a son, and off we went. It surely wasn’t without its challenges, but things were good.

Reflecting back to my first marriage, I was very focused on my work, to a fault, which helped lead to the failure of my marriage. This time around I wasn’t as focused on work, but was definitely chasing the dollar. The difference was focus.  In the Marines it was work, in the department, it was the dollar. We were both working and trying to improve our quality of life. My overtime rate was pretty good and hard to turn down. So, for a number of different reasons, one being a true lack of focus in the right direction, our marriage didn’t work and after about 5 years when we got divorced.

There is a lot of muddy water to get to this bridge, but the end result was we were focused in the wrong direction and on the wrong things.

There needs to be only one true focal point to see all things through and that’s Jesus.

I hadn’t learned that yet.

Ambassador 

I’m taking a short break from the timeline, but wanted to share a thought in response to a post I read awhile ago and that I have expanded upon my original response. 

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But what a privilege it is to be in His kingdom. 

That despite my battle against cancer and to include Jesus’s faithful presence through it all and His eventual healing.

It was a healing that was according to His methods and timing, definitely not mine. 

To allowing me to be His ambassador in my marriage and trying to demonstrate through my marriage, His love and the relationship He desires with His Church. 

I can not and do not want to do this alone. I need Jesus with me. 

To now, becoming the father to a little girl and being an ambassador to her for our Father in heaven. 

It is Who I represent to her that is most important.  His character, His love, His long suffering. What a failure I will have become if all she see’s is her earthly father. 

A privilege. An honor, to be brought into the demonstration of His kingdom in such a manner. 

To be included and know that this is a task I am not alone in, for He has never left me and He never will. 

To also include my forever bride and the partnership we have in life. Learning what it means to live life well and to parent well, in hopes that it all points upwards towards our Father in heaven and He that is seated at His right hand, Christ Jesus. 

How far is God from us in this process called life?

I believe that in desiring and striving to live out this place well to His glory, by His grace, we are indeed closer to God than we realize.

The personal side

I lived with my brother and his family for about a year and then it was time to go. It wasn’t my idea, they needed to prod me a little and provided a very reasonable deadline. They were so very helpful and gracious. There is no way I could have done the previous year without them. 

I don’t believe in luck, so as God would have it, He provided me my new place to live. 

Remember how I patrolled Cape St. Clair?  Well, within this community is a marina. In the middle of this marina was a small empty house and the owners were looking for someone to help with security. Sounds like a great match doesn’t it!  It was that salty field training officer that helped me make the connection. 

Only God. 

We moved in and lived there for about a year or so. It was a perfect set up. The elementary school where my son attended was awesome and the baby sitter I found!  She was a God send as well. 

Seriously, this arrangement was a gift from God. The house was great. Two bedrooms, 1 bath. Decent size kitchen and an awesome living area. Also it’s own washer and dryer. And the fire place was great!

Relationships:

I was what you would consider a serial monogamist. I was always in a relationship. I cheated on one girlfriend, to which I felt so guilty, I ended the relationship. I never cheated again. 

I was in a place where I was actually single for a short time and my friends from work set me up on a blind date. 

As things worked out, we fell in love and got married. This was 8 years from my divorce. 

Life as a COP 

I spent about 7 1/2 years working the beat in Eastern District.

In that time I encountered quite a few experiences.

Family violence calls:

Brother beats brother in the head with a large glass ashtray.

Mother and son argument. The son is drunk and we find him upstairs with a loaded 38 pistol in his back pocket.

Domestic violence calls:

Husband and wife. Wife is very intoxicated and hiding in the bedroom and won’t come out. We go in to find her hiding under the covers and she won’t come out. Hoping she’s dressed, we pull back the covers.  She’s dressed, but has had way too much to drink and needs to go to the hospital.  We place her in cuffs to take her to the hospital and are met by her husband who has a handcuff key and doesn’t want her to go. It was the husband who called us in the first place, because they were fighting. 

We end up wrestling with him while she’s wondering around in the kitchen. Help comes and she goes to the hospital and he goes to jail.

Man with a gun:

Call for a male walking along the road with a handgun. I pull up on him and see a handgun in his right hand. I tell him to drop the gun. My gun is out and pointed directly at him. This was a residential neighborhood. Praise God he listened and did exactly what I told him. It was a pellet gun that looked just like my nine millimeter handgun.

Armed bank robbery:

There was a bank robbery and I went looking for the suspect vehicle. I see them coming my way and there is a lot of traffic. I turn my emergency lights on and all the traffic stops and blocks them in as a result. I get out and draw my weapon on the two of them. They are supposed to be armed with a handgun. Other officers arrive and we find the passenger of the car to have a loaded 38 handgun in his waistband. The driver wasn’t old enough to have a drivers license.

In the midst of seeing all the parents struggling with their children, I started a scared straight program for at risk kids. I partnered with a friend from juvenile services.  I had to do this on my own time, but it was well worth it.  I was able to keep the program going throughout the summer until the detention center had some security concerns and didn’t want the youth in there anymore. I had about 100 children go through.

A drug bust at a local bar with about 18 baggies of powdered cocaine.

The U Haul truck parked at Arundel Mills that was rented by the shop lifters I just arrested. It was filled with a lot of stolen property that had to be cataloged.

Domestic violence call where my partner is talking with the wife and I am talking with the husband. Come to find out he was sitting on a loaded shotgun.

There have been many pushed cars, rides given, and tires changed. Even tickets issued on occasion. One lady said that I was so nice she didn’t think she was getting a ticket. I kindly asked to, sign here X_________________.

These are just a few work stories, and then there’s my personal life!

Imprints

There are calls in the life of a police officer that never go away. They stay with you for life. 

The 16 year old that crossed the double yellow line and went head on into a Volvo. The driver of the volvo died instantly, the girl was choking on her own blood and died at the hospital. I was first on the scene and tried to open her airway. 

The suicide by shotgun. 

The juvenile bank robbers where the passenger was armed with a loaded handgun. 

Interviewing the two preteen girls because they were sexually assaulted by an adult. 

The homeless person without shoes who I bought shoes for. 

The middle school student who had a total meltdown because of their horrible place in life. In middle school. 

The multiple teens who had suffered physical injury at the hands of their parent. Taking them to the hospital for treatment and not being able to leave them. 

Then there are those more positive moments.

Getting a hand shake from a student who didn’t trust me to touch him as he feared I would arrest him. It took 180 days to build his trust and get that handshake. 

Mentoring programs. 

Numerous individuals who have become friends that I’ve been able to really help. 

Those I’ve arrested who have shook my hand after and thanked me for the respect I showed them. 

Imprints can definitely go both ways. 

God has been immeasurably good through all of it, though I don’t understand much of it. 

The beat

The term beat is used to describe your patrol area. 

When you leave the academy and go to your duty assignment, you go into field training. For three months you ride with three different field training officers, one for each month. They are like a mentor/trainer and help you to make changes where you need to make changes and encourage you where you are doing well. 

One was an officer who you would consider salty, only with a little better attitude than those I met my first day. He was very practical. 

Location location location. He would continually ask where we were; the main street and closest cross street. Knowing where you are can make the difference of whether help can find you when you need it. If you got out of the car without your radio, he would drive off and leave you.  Not for long, but long enough to make the point, never leave the car without your equipment. 

He also had the best eye sight. We’d be driving down Route 97 at 60 some mph and he would pull off the road and say: “I saw a 1/2 inch slotted screw driver back there!”  He was right every time!  Wrenches, Phillips head, flat head, what ever it was, he saw and knew exactly what it was. 

My three months was up. I hit the street solo. It was in the first few weeks of being on my own and I was patrolling Cape St. Clair. I worked it for my 6 days of day work, 7am- 3:30pm, then my 6 days of evenings, 3:00pm-11:30pm. It was during the evening shift that I got lost in the Cape. 

How can a place seem so different at night, in the dark! Even with a map book I could not find my way out!  FYI, no gps phones or even a gps!  Finally after about 45 minutes of wandering around the community in my patrol car, I stumbled my way out!  

Then there’s my first time taking a prisoner to the detention center. 

He’s cuffed and in the passenger seat. I reach back and grab my map book and start looking for where the detention center is and how to get there. 

He looks over at me laughing and asked, “what, you don’t know how to get there?”  I explained that I was new and from Pennsylvania. He laughed again and told me he would tell me how to get there. I looked him in the eye and asked him if he would give me the right directions and he assured me he would.  On the way he did try to get a burger from a fast food joint, to which I explained that as much as I appreciated the directions, I could not get him a burger. 

He still gave me the right directions. 

Life on the beat. 

The back steps 

It was my first day on patrol, not on the job. I was pretty nervous.  I had already been practicing getting dressed and trying on all my police gear.  I even modeled for my brother and sis in law. That’s a little weird. 

I was excited!  This was a huge step and it felt right. What didn’t feel right was my stomach. I just didn’t feel well!

But it was my first day on the job and I wasn’t going to miss it. I get dressed in the morning. Put on my bullet proof vest, uniform, gun belt, and head out to the Eastern District Police Station.  As I’m walking up the back steps, I see some salty officers. Salty officers are officers who have been there for some time.  They’ve paid their dues. They’ve seen, they’ve experienced, they have been where I am getting ready to go. 

So, I’m walking up the back steps and I hear one of them call out; “Don’t know why you’d wanna work here!”, and grumbled some complaint about the work environment and county government. I shrugged it off but never forgot it.  No one was going to influence my perception. I was here to make it my own. 

Remember my stomach not feeling well!  I woke up on the floor of the roll call room. My shirt undone, my vest and gun belt off, and looking up into the face of a fire fighter and my new sergeant, who was yelling at me not to come to work sick, even if it is my first day, as I could get everyone else sick also. I passed out in my chair during roll call. 

It was my first day on patrol.