COP & CROSS LIBRARY
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Going Into The Unknown
By Texas Police Officer Nathan Bickerstaff
Cops face a staggering variety of criminal activity; murder, arson, robbery, rape, kidnapping, extortion, terrorist bombings, narcotics, shootouts, even grave robbing. I can still remember my first shooting victim. I was horrified by the holes in the young man’s body: the blood oozing out, his contorted face, writhing limbs, gasps while waiting in the street for an ambulance...
The city’s unsung heroes could tell stories that don’t make the front page. Stories you will never forget. Like this story: a call came in late one afternoon about a body found in a bag along the side of a road. As I drove to the scene, I prayed that it was a mistaken call, but sure enough, at the side of the road was a body in a black bag. Inside, wrapped in plastic, was a person...
Cops see almost every kind of crime imaginable. Next call, “Make contact with the woman, unknown trouble, 1121 East Main Street, code two...” Most officers hate unknown trouble calls: they always make us nervous. Most cops like to know what to expect.
There is a woman standing in the front yard. She waves nervously as I get out of my patrol car. “May I help you,” I asked, as I approached her. She states that she is the one that called the police. “There’s a lady in that house that is terribly drunk all the time. She has a new baby. She’s always drunk,” she stated again, “Especially when her husband is at work, and he is working tonight.”
I asked her if she was bothering you? “It’s the baby officer,” she replied. “She dropped that child on the ground last week. So tonight she was staggering around that front porch with the child again, and she almost fell, and I told my husband I was calling the Law.”
I advised her I would check on the child. I walked carefully up the dangerous front porch steps and stood by on one side of the door, and then knocked. I heard the shuffling of feet and a crash, and knocked again. More than a minute later, a woman opened the door and stared at me with watery eyes.
“What do you want?” she demanded, weaving from side to side as she tried to support herself. At this time my backup had arrived. I advised her we were told she might be having some trouble.
“Mind if we come in? We’re here to help you.” She said she knew how the police “helps.”
“We were told your baby might be in some danger. Could you just show us that the baby is ok, and we’ll be on our way?”
“Get out of my house,!” She said.
Pushing past the drunken woman, we walked across the small living room toward the bedrooms. The baby was in the kitchen on the table. She picked up the child. “Give us the baby,” we yelled. She drove an elbow into my side, and the baby started screaming.
“Let the child go,” I shouted, as the woman jerked backward viciously, unwilling to surrender the crying infant. Then the woman fell heavily back into a chair, holding the child by one leg. She was holding the child in a death grip, first by the leg, then by the arm. The other officer grabbed the woman and shouted, “pull the child.”
It was after midnight when we got the woman booked in and the child admitted to the hospital. Child Protective Services also responded.
Now you see why most officers hate to hear the dispatcher say, “Make contact with the woman…unknown problem.”
That is why it is so important to walk with the Lord Jesus Christ in this job. As I work each day as an officer I remind myself of these words from a unknown Author: I shall not pass through this world but once. Any good, therefore, that I can do, let me do it now. Let me not defer or neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again.
Jesus Christ told us not be filled with fear: for He has given us a spirit of power, love and sound mind. That is how we can keep responding to the “unknown” in life – and how we can respond as law enforcement officers. If He is for us, who can be against us?
The Lord also tells us He is with us and He is going into the dark places with us to bring light. Remember my fellow officers: we are the only light for some. (2 Timothy 1:7, Luke 24:43)