Bad Boys Bad Boys
What other career path would you have chosen if you weren't doing what you are currently doing?
I’m asked the question every so often of what would I be doing if God hadn’t called me into the ministry. Well, it’s an interesting question because I really can’t imagine doing anything else. I love what God has called me to – being a part of something so incredible as seeing life change in people – is amazing! I’ve had the privilege to be a part of full-time ministry now for 16+ years (and about 5 years part-time before that). I look forward to many, many more years of ministry.
Let’s go back and let me answer the question, ”What else would I do?” Well, there’s two answers, I believe. And trust me, they are extreme opposites. Want to guess at it?
The first option I would have pursued would have been the career path of being a state trooper. Yes, imagine me in a dress uniform with one of those tall hats they wear. I believe this dream started when I was a kid as we played cops and robbers in our cul-de-sac. I always wanted to be the arresting officer. And it took things to another level when the robbers (my friends) would run from “the law” and we’d go flying through backyards on our Huffy bikes.
Fast forward a few years (ok, many years) and I was talking to a friend at church about their spouse being a state trooper. I mentioned my childhood “dream” and the rest is history. A few weeks later, I was handed a letter at church that was a registration form for a Florida Highway Patrol ride-along program. Well, of course, I filled it out and in 2009, I went on the ride-along of my life in the greater Daytona Beach area of I-4 and I-95. Now I must say – prior to it, my wife wasn’t as thrilled because I was provided with a bulletproof vest the week before. It could be that Laura was 7 or 8 months pregnant.
My neighbors must’ve been wondering when the FHP showed up at my house; however, the patrolmen said he’d pick me up to start the 3:00-11:00pm shift. Not one block from the house, the patrolman told me that the release button above my head was to release the shotgun that was also behind my head. My reply was “thanks” but then he told me that if he was in danger at any point, and that if I felt like I was in danger, to push that button. He requested that I not shoot him accidentally. Needless to say, we had some good laughs, and thankfully, I never had to press the release button that evening.
The night was awesome. Ten minutes into the ride and while doing 70+ mph, he took the car down into the median and whipped it around to go after a car with too dark of tints on the windows. He had pulled them over the month before and they still didn’t have them fixed. He laughed hysterically as he said I turned white as a ghost when we hit the median grass. I asked him to warn me next time.
The evening also included doing radar in a hidden spot to where we clocked a woman doing 90 mph in a 65 mph zone, during rush hour (with two kids in the back seat). We ruined her day, but the alternative could have been fatal. We also clocked 2 “crotch-rocket” motorcycles doing 100+ in a 65 mph zone. A chase ensued where we caught up to one who didn’t know we were right behind him as he was practically laying down on his seat to beat the wind. Finally, we hit the siren really quick since he didn’t see the lights. The other motorcycle thought he outran us but my friend called ahead to another patrolman who was 10 miles up the road. Needless to say, motorcycle #2 was apprehended.
We cruised over 100 miles throughout the night and had a lot of fun eating dinner with another couple of patrolmen. They shared stories with me that had us all laughing hysterically. I think the one that stuck out to me the most was when one of the guys in their division responded to a call of a cow walking on the interstate. They arrived and used their cars to corral the cow to the shoulder. Then animal control arrived and things went downhill. “Bubba” got out of his “animal control” truck with his friend/co-worker “Bubba.” They got the cow enclosed near the tree line. It was the perfect time to use their shotgun to shoot the cow with a tranquilizer. However, it didn’t go as planned. “Bubba 1” shot the shotgun; it missed the cow; ricocheted off the tree and hit “Bubba 2” right in the leg. “Bubba 2” hit the ground immediately. Thankfully, with a reverse injection, he was okay a short-time later. “Bubba 1” finally got the cow. The patrolmen said it was the wildest (and funniest) thing they’d ever seen.
With a few more stops (pullovers), the night was coming to an end. We headed up I-4 to I-95 to head back to my house. We then received a call that a drunk driver was reported headed northbound on I-95 about 5-6 miles in front of us. My friend responded over the radio and said we would pursue. For the next 10 minutes, I clinched the seat, prayed like never before and kept singing “Bad boys, bad boys, whatcha gonna do when they come for you” as we hit speeds that reached 120+ mph trying to catch this drunk driver. Unfortunately, we never found the driver. But wow, what a ride. By the way, my friend was an incredible driver. He had been trained for these sorts of things and it showed.
My ride-along ended with me praying with the patrolman and inviting him to church sometime soon.
I was then blessed again in 2013 to do a ride along with the Brentwood, Tennessee police department. It was a wild shift too that included us arresting the backup running back for the Tennessee Titans who was charged with domestic battery that evening. There were a couple of accident reports and such but no high speed chases.
So, if I wasn’t in ministry, I guess the one thing I’d be doing is working as a highway patrolman. However, I’ve had the thrill to put on the vest (not the uniform) and do so, even it was only for a few nights.
In another blog, I’ll let you know the other job option that God allowed me to do for a few times as well. Any guesses? In the meantime, I need to get back to my real job – the job that I love – ministry!