Date: 2020 June 15
APOK is traveling south of the border – In the recent week I have shipped a number of packages to American and Canadian fans. To my surprise based on the low Canadian dollar, there was a savings of three dollars shipping it south of the Great White North border. I may not be Amazon, but I can wrap and ship a package well!!! For those in Canada wanting the personal touch, I will do what I can to keep the costs as low as possible but it might be cheaper picking it up from your local retailer. If you’re interested let me know and I will see what MAMAZON can do.
With local retailers starting to re-open, there hasn’t been much movement on the development of the APOK Derailed book tour, but I will keep you informed of any changes.
For some policing is an inconvenience, a government tax collection agency, or people with nothing better to do than rain on everyone’s party. To some in today’s climate, it’s the ultimate evil representing the worst in society. To all those with that mentality, I present this information:
Covered in sweat from head to toe, I curl the soaked bed sheets back and sit up. Feeling the chill in the air, I sense the water droplets roll down my skin. The sights, sounds and colors of the nightmare fade back into my memory as I shuffle tired feet to the bathroom. “It was a nightmare”, I remind myself feeling the blood racing through my veins.
In 20 years I’ve rarely spoken of my career and all the sleepless nights or nightmares. Until writing APOK I kept most of that inside. I never wanted anyone’s sympathy, after all we all have a choice in what we do, and I made and live by mine.
I am the first and only police officer in my known family. Coming from where I did, I entered it with a desire to serve unrelentingly with the understanding that this career was going to help me provide for my family. Sure I had an idea of the job and accepted the risks on a superficial level; injured, death and death – but no one ever told me about the side effects (not sure I would have listened anyways). During the height of the chaotic part of my career, I barely allowed myself time to notice. I didn’t have time to feel for myself, I had work to do.
Fortunately I had started my career in a metropolitan area, and was baptized by fire. The streets weren’t to be taken lightly. Standing at 5 foot 7 inches and weighing 165 pounds, I was tested almost every time I stepped out of the police car. Verbal attacks were an everyday occurrence and if I didn’t know my stuff inside and out, I was eaten alive, figuratively and sometimes literally.
We’re told “every time you’re anywhere, it’s a gun call (your gun is there)” and I learned there is always one unknown variable… the caller or suspect. Not ALL verbal attacks go any further, and not all cooperative persons remained so. This was brought to light when one of my friends was attacked at a hospital by a patient and tried to take his gun. Alone and over powered, my friend just held on to his gun, as medical staff sedated him.
I learned that regardless how prepared I thought I was, there was always someone willing to give me a surprise. I have been spit in the face multiple times, some with HIV and Hepatitis. I have been punched, kneed, kicked, bitten and cut. I have had weapons pulled on me and I can’t remember how many times the life of me and my family has been threatened. Threats are common, but every now and then someone utters it with absolute conviction. At the height of one investigation, I asked my family to leave town, after finding that my house was being spied on.
I can’t recall how many times I had my gun out. Me and my partner entered a business investigating a break and enter and found a guy with a gun inside. Thankfully we were able to end it peacefully, but I can tell you my heart was racing.
After leaving the city, I entered northern policing. My first day in the small town I recall clearly. Leaving the police station seated in the passenger seat, I felt uneasy seeing someone smiling and waving at us. Automatically, my mind was thinking… “What’s going on? What are they up to?” Eventually after passing by several others with the same greeting, the shock went away and I realized I wasn’t in the city anymore.
And, just when I thought I had small town policing under control, I answered a call to attend a farm to help a local agency perform a well being check on the animals. As I entered the property the caller pointed out the farmer who was in the process of using a chain saw to cut wood. Calling out to him didn’t catch his attention, so I moved in closer.
As I neared him, I remember seeing his eyes roll to the side followed by a quick snap of his head. There was no mistaking my brand new uniform and foreign face, nor could I mistake the absolute rage across his. The farmer raised his chain saw above his head revving the engine and yelling at me. I was confused. “Does he not see my full police uniform?” I tried to make my voice heard, but it was no use between his yelling and the engine screaming. With anger distorting his face he moved towards me waving his roaring machine. There was no other way to interpret it, he was coming at me with a weapon. Realizing I was in danger, I drew my handgun from my holster and pointed it at him yelling verbal commands but it was no use he just kept coming. I remember a host of thoughts racing through my head. “If I run will he chase me or will he chase and kill the caller who was beside me?” In the milliseconds it took to make a decision to stand my ground, I was on death’s doorstep. I planted my feet, pointed my gun and started pulling the trigger. Feeling and watching the hammer pull back the man was in my sights and still advancing. At the last split second before the hammer reached execution point, the man stopped. Standing feet away from me he stood yelling and revving the chainsaw waving it back and forth. With my finger holding the trigger, hammer back, I yelled at him repeatedly. In one motion he threw the weapon down and ran at me.
Releasing the trigger, I tried to holster my gun as the farmer began hitting me. My mind was spinning as the mele began to unfold. His son and daughter-in-law got involved and it was three on one. Just when I thought things couldn’t get worse, as the son and daughter-in-law continued their attack, the farmer jumped on a tractor and tried to run me over. Luckily for me the caller summoned another police officer because I had my hands full. When the dust was settled, three were under arrest and my mind was still swirling.
Sitting back at the office trying to do my paper work, the reality of the situation sank deeper and deeper. It hung like a dark cloud on my conscious. I realized that I had formulated and acted on the idea that I was going to shoot someone. Had the farmer not stopped I know in my heart of hearts that I would have shot him. The trigger was pulled and the hammer was back almost as far back as it could go. Had he walked another step I would have shot him, but, would it have been enough? Did my failure to act sooner place myself in too much risk? Could he have killed me even if I shot him? (In the city I had seen a gangster get shot multiple times and still return fire and run out of a building.) Then I grappled with the idea when the farmer changed the play from a lethal situation to a less lethal situation I had a hard time formulating a new plan, or even engaging in the fight being hit by three people. I couldn’t understand why I had such a hard time. It’s not like I have never been in fights before, or have made gun point arrests. The reflection on those moments lasted longer than the incident itself.
I have worked with other officers who unfortunately have had to shoot someone and it’s not that Hollywood moment. It’s a scary real thing and despite what a lot of people want you to think it’s not what I or anyone that I know signed up to do.
“You can’t understand someone until you’ve walked a mile in their shoes.”
Have a great week,