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True Police Stories

"Courage is the ability to move; when all around you are frozen in fear
and no one would blame you if you did nothing at all." Capt. Click. Phx. PD

My Name is Jason Robey

My name is Jason Robey. I have been a police officer since 1997 and I have been a Deputy Sheriff with the Salt Lake County Sheriff's Office since 1998. I am also a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Growing up I loved cops. I remember as a kindergartner in West Lafayette, Indiana, a local police officer coming to our class and spoke to us.

       I clearly remember the blue uniform and helmet of this motorcycle officer.
                     I recall with a smile this officer telling a young boy
                                   that he could not see his gun and bullets.

Some years later my family moved to Utah and I still loved cops. I grew up with good friends, but ones who did not necessarily share my fondness for the police and I allowed their attitudes to sway me away from the law enforcement profession.

I served in the Pennsylvania Philadelphia mission from 1986-88 and returned home to attend college. I met my future wife Kara about a year after coming home and we were married in the Salt Lake Temple in 1990. I attended the University of Utah studying English. I was headed towards a career in the writing field, but was not thrilled with my prospects. I was working at the time for Franklin Quest and was pursuing a position in management. I was only a year away from graduating and still very uncertain as to where I was going with a career. I knew I needed to make some decisions and get a firm idea of what I was going to do with myself professionally. I had my interview for the management position and it did not go as well as I had hoped, but the decision for who was getting promoted was still about a week away and my manager told me I was one of the top candidates.

       I recall very vividly the next day getting on my knees and praying for guidance.
                I told my Heavenly Father that I was trying to set up my life
                           and that He had promised me in my Patriarchal Blessing
                                                          guidance in choosing my career.

I told him I wanted the management position with Franklin Quest, but if that was not my path, to guide me into the correct career and not to allow me to get promoted.

       A still small voice spoke to me as clearly as if a friend were standing next to me.
                                        Heavenly Father wanted me to be a police officer.
             I asked if I had heard correctly and again that voice was there assuring me
                                                that I was supposed to be a police officer.

I knew my wife was not going to be happy about this and for the next week I frequently asked to confirm that I was to go down this path. Each time I received assurances that my Heavenly Father wanted me to be a police officer. I also did not get promoted at work.

I put myself through the police academy, graduated with my BS in English from the University of Utah, and was hired in 1997 by the Salt Lake Airport Police. A year later I was hired by the Salt Lake County Sheriff's Office and was assigned to one of the highest crime areas in the county. Over the course of the next seven years I worked graveyard patrol constantly finding myself exposed to the worst side of humanity one can imagine. A significant number of the calls we handled were related to methamphetamine use and all it's attendant problems.

                          I've always been an active member of the church,
          but somewhere along the way after my mission I became what I term
                                                                        "casually active".

I attended my church meetings and paid tithing, I held a recommend, but I did not really participate in anything else church related. I did not go home teaching and refused any number of callings. For whatever reasons the rest of activity in the church was not really important to me. That was all going to change. The Lord had a purpose for me in law enforcement. I did not know what, but I definitely was not ready to hear and obey.

                                                    I needed to be humbled.

On May 11, 2003 my life changed forever. I was dispatched as a backup officer with several other deputies to a domestic violence call. A suspect I'll call "Mike" was at his mother's house causing problems and threatening to kill her. We were advised by our dispatch that Mike was intoxicated, high, had a knife and would fight us when we arrived. We contacted the complainant at the front door and we were let into the house. I was the second deputy to make entry and followed my partner down the hall into the kitchen. My partner was armed with a pepper-ball gun and saw Mike first. As I came into the dining room I could see that Mike had a large kitchen knife in his hand. My partner was giving him commands to drop the knife and shooting him with the pepper-ball gun to no effect.

                             I had drawn my gun at this point,
                                  but before I could do anything Mike charged us.

My partner was in between Mike and I as we retreated from him down the hallway into the living room. As I was backing up I tripped over a coffee table and fell on my back. The suspect stood over me and I knew what was going through his mind. Mike's intention was to jump on me and stab me.

                 At the time I did not realize that I could tell what he was thinking,
                                        but I would gain an understanding of that later.

My Sgt. was in the living room next to me and we began firing at the suspect. Mike was fatally wounded and died at the scene. I could not believe that I had not been stabbed. I would gain an understanding of that later as well. A week later I was given a very powerful blessing by my bishop. It had nothing to do with the shooting and everything to do with me. Think of it as receiving a second Patriarchal Blessing. One of the things I was told was that I have been given the gift of discernment and one of the purposes for that was my protection at work. I was told that I would be able to tell the thoughts of the people I was dealing with and it was for my protection. This had already happened a number of times, including the previous week. I was touched, but not yet humbled.

             The aftermath of a shooting is unlike anything I have ever experienced.

The shooting was justified and I have no remorse for my actions. I had protected myself, my partner and the family he had been threatening to harm. My actions were in harmony with my training and my religious beliefs. The Sheriff's Office and all my co-workers were all supportive. There was however a problem that I did not realize yet. One in four officers involved in shootings end up with varying degrees of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). I ended up being one of them. Chemical changes can happen in the brain when a person is placed under an intensely stressful situation. This can cause a number of different physiological occurrences. In my case there was a three to four second sequence of the shooting that replayed itself in my mind over and over. This became an omnipresent aspect of my life. It was affecting me in my personal and work life and I did not understand what was happening or why.

                     There were times when I would almost cry from the stress
                            and frequently said to myself that I just wanted it to stop.

I don't even recall if I prayed for relief. I have a deep compassion for why some people after traumatic incidents become heavy drinkers or drug abusers. Had I been a drinker, I would have drunk myself unconscious to make it stop. The stress was affecting my behavior at work and home. I was constantly irritable and received many complaints at work from citizens. In the previous two years to the incident I had not received a single citizen complaint. In following eight months I received ten. I was cleared of each complaint, but in January my captain and current supervisor decided something was just not right. I was called in for a meeting with my captain and my Sgt. They felt, and rightly so, that I was having problems stemming from the shooting, and I was kindly ordered to go to some counseling.

I was not placed on leave again as the complaints were all very minor, but they were concerned about me. As embarrassing as that meeting was for me, I will be forever grateful for supervisors who were concerned for me. I had reached a point where I knew I had a problem but I did not know how to fix it. When I was given the blessing a week after the shooting I was too arrogant at the time to fully recognize what had been given to me. Nine months later I was ready to really hear what the Lord had in store for me. I called my bishop and asked for a Priesthood Blessing. It had taken this long for me to be humbled enough to ask for help. I was anointed with oil and blessed the following night.

               At the pronouncement of the blessing I was almost completely healed.
                               I felt the change in my brain as I was blessed. A miracle!!!

I had been humbled and my attitude was changed. About a week later, my home teaching companion tried once again to see if I would join him for the appointment he had made. I said yes. I didn't tell my wife until we were home and then I told her I had to go home teaching and I would be back in an hour. After I came home, she asked me what made me decide to go. I told her that after all blessings, in particular being healed, how could I not do anything that was asked of me. I felt it would be spitting in my Heavenly Father's face and that I could not show any less gratitude towards Him then by refusing callings. A week later I was called as an Elder's Quorum instructor. The thought went through my mind to say no, I did not want to teach, but again the idea of showing gratitude touched me and I said yes.

                      An act of extreme violence changed my life,
             and though I would have preferred to never had that experience,
                     I am grateful for a loving Heavenly Father who used that experience
                               to make me a better person and a better Latter Day Saint.

I still have my struggles, but everyday I try to do better as I serve both the citizens of Salt Lake County and my Heavenly Father.


                                                                        Deputy Jason Robey #29B
                                                                        Salt Lake County Sheriff's Office







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or wife, mother, father of such or some other branch of emergency personnel
and would like to share an unusual testimony building experience with others,
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Thank you and God bless,


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