"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 Chuck Gray
Taken from the book Think
About it... for your reading convenience
When I was a young boy, I was afraid of the dark. I lived on the outskirts of a
town, away from the
city lights. It was very dark outside our house at night. I was the oldest of
the children and only about
six or eight years of age. It was my job to take out the trash each night. These
were large trash barrels
that were on the darkest side of our house just beyond several large trees. I
had to pass by an old
large fig tree that seemed to reach out for me with long gnarled arms each time
I took out the trash.
I always felt as if someone was lurking out there to grab me.
My mother always taught me that if I was obeying the commandments of God,
nothing would hurt
me. She said that God would protect me and God was all powerful and could do all
things. I took
great comfort in that counsel and each time that I took out the trash, I would
review my life to see
if I were still worthy of God’s protection. Satisfied in my own mind that I was
worthy, I would set
my jaw and bravely take the trash out, trusting in God to protect me from
dangers, which at the time,
seemed very real to me.
That experience has never been forgotten. It has helped me assess my life over
and over again to see
if I was in good standing with God so that I would be worthy of His protection.
I have always felt
in my heart that if I was doing what is right in the sight of God that He would
protect me from all
physical harm and danger.
When I became a police officer, I relied on that belief even more. I knew the
accompanied the job were real now as opposed to the imagined dangers of my
trust could very easily cost me my life. It was also clear that I must do all
that I could to be safe by
learning good safety habits associated with the job.
I found that besides providing protection to myself, I was able to be the
of divine intervention in the lives of others as well.
One such incident while I was a Field Training Officer in patrol. My Officer in
Training was Cheri.
She was driving the patrol car and handling all radio traffic assigned to us. A
call came up on the
patrol car computer screen of which I was unaware. Cheri asked me if I had
manually pulled up the
call and I told her that I had not. I then looked at the call and noticed that
the call was not in our beat
and had been assigned by dispatch to two other officers. There was no apparent
need for us to
respond. I checked with dispatch to see if the dispatcher had sent us the call.
She indicated that she
had not sent it to us but that the primary officer was 3358.
I looked at the call and read the comments on the case. The reporting party’s
name was listed as
“Pam” which I recognized right away. Pam had two sons, both of whom I had dealt
times previously. These had all been positive encounters. I had even accompanied
her older son to
a school function in which he was to receive an award. I noticed also that the
call indicated that it was
this son that had tried to commit suicide on that evening. We had no calls
pending and so I advised
radio that we would be responding to the call.
The call came over the air as a 420 (family fight) in my beat. Sometimes
officers respond to two or
three family fight calls a night. I was handling another call and so radio
assigned this one to another
unit. However, I felt I should break and take this call. I picked up the mic and
told radio that I would
break and take that call and to assign me as the primary unit. When the call
came over my screen it
showed me 3358 as primary. It showed Bon, 3355 as my back up. When I pulled up
on the scene I
noticed that Bon had already arrived and that a third unit was coming around the
corner. It was
Chuck, 3153. I looked back at my computer to see if I had missed something. I
looked to see if radio
had assigned three units to this call but she hadn’t. Chuck was a north side
car. Bon and I were south
side cars and this was a south side call. I later asked Chuck why he showed up
on my call and he said,
“Sam, it just popped up on my screen. I asked the dispatcher if she had sent me
this last 420 out east
but she replied, ‘Negative. The call had gone to 3358 and 3355.” The comments on
the call were that
it was fairly violent. The mother and son had been fighting, the son had taken a
knife and slashed his
wrist and now the mother, son and neighbors were fighting.
When all four of us walked up, it was pretty hectic. We took control of the
scene and began moving
non-involved people out. Bon went with the fire department to attend to the
injured son and Cheri
went and talked to the neighbors. Sam and I went and talked with Pam. She did
not recognize me at
first, except as just one of several officers in blue uniforms passing through
the house. Her younger
son, who had seen me outside, came into the room and said, “Mom. Officer Gray is
She immediately looked up and upon recognizing me, lost control of her emotions.
She began to sob
uncontrollably and hugged me for quite awhile as firefighters, paramedics and
police officers hustled
back and forth through the room. I told Sam that they were LDS. I said they
weren’t very active and
that I had tried to fellowship them even though they lived in a different ward.
Then they moved and
I lost contact with them. I hadn’t seen them again until now.
When Chuck told me that, I immediately felt prompted to separate her and open my
a strange feeling I thought. Why should I separate her and what would I say? She
had the strong odor
of alcohol on her breath. The kitchen sink was full of empty beer cans, there
was no sign of this being
a Christian home and why should I risk a complaint for talking about religion on
duty. So I
immediately dismissed that feeling. But as soon as I dismissed it, it came back
to me that I was to
separate her and open my mouth. I dismissed it again for the same reasons as I
dismissed it before.
She told us that her life had totally fallen apart. Her husband had run off and
left her. Her dad was
in prison, her mom was someplace in Canada and wouldn’t have anything to do with
brothers and sisters won’t even talk to her anymore. She said she had tried
every social service she
could think of for help. She had lost her job, her car, even her phone had been
cut off and she had to
go to the neighbors to call the police. She was being evicted from her home and
now her son was
trying to kill himself. She stated her life was a mess. She told us how no one
really wanted to help her
and that no one really cared about her. Every suggestion we gave her she had
already tried. We were
totally out of suggestions. Her older son broke into the conversation and they
began yelling at each
other about whose fault this big mess was.
We let it go at first but it started getting out of control so I stopped it and
told her son to go back into
the living room with Bon. Then the unmistakable feeling came to me again that I
was to separate her
and open my mouth. This time I listened. I asked her to step outside with me and
Chuck. When we
got outside onto the back patio, I didn’t know what to say. I was fumbling for
words. I asked her if
she was LDS. She looked at me with a surprised and curious look on her face and
“Yeah.” I asked, “For how long?” She replied, “Since I was nine.” Suddenly the
words were there,
my mouth was filled and these words came bursting out. I said,
“You were taught correct principles,
and until you return to those principles, ...your life will not change.”
I don’t know who was more surprised at what I had just said. Me or her! I didn’t
know how she was
going to take that. I hoped she wouldn’t get mad and start yelling at me. But
the moment those words
left my mouth, tears began to run down her face. She cupped her hands and put
her face in her hands
and began to cry. Through her tears she said, “This is the priesthood isn’t it!”
Chuck leaned forward,
gently put his right hand on her left shoulder and said,
“Yes it is Pam!
And the feelings you are now feeling
is the Holy Ghost bearing witness to you,
that the Lord loves you and that He wants you back.”
We told her many things. We told her the Lord had sent us here to help her. We
also told her that no
one was going to do it for her. We explained to her that if she wanted things to
be better in her life
she would have to come back to the Church and start obeying the commandments.
That they were
there for our good. She would have to make the change and that we were there to
tell her of the
Lord’s love for her and to call her back to the fold of the Lord. We also told
her that she was not
forgotten by the Lord, but that she had removed herself from His reach by her
own actions and
choices. The spirit was very strong among us. All were moved. None had dry eyes.
She was quite
taken back at this reproof. But a glimmer of understanding seemed to come over
her. I told her that
tonight we were not there as officers of the law but that we were there as
Elders of the Lord’s
priesthood. She nodded knowingly as if she had recognized an old and long
forgotten friend. “I
thought so!” she said. The spirit was strong and my heart burned within me as
the spirit of the Lord
filled my being. We continued to testify to her and explained the Lord had sent
us to show her the
way back, but she would have to start in His direction before her life could
take a new direction. She
told us that she knew the Church was true and that she never had any doubt, but
that it was hard to
change and she wasn’t sure she had the strength. I assured her that she did and
that if she needed any
assistance that I would always be close by. I gave her my phone number and told
her to call if she
needed anything. At that point we left.
We walked out of the house, down the driveway and out into the street. We got
into our patrol cars,
unable to speak. Unable to grab our mics and check 10-8 over the air. There was
no doubt in either
of our minds that the Lord had directed the events of that call, that night. In
that woman’s darkest
hour with no one to turn to, no place to go, the Lord sent over two cops and
through those two cops,
He reached out and said, “...Come unto me!”
I should never have received that call that night. I may never know how it came
up on my computer
screen. But I do know that it was our Father in Heaven that sent it to me. One
of His daughters was
desperately in need of help. She needed counsel from the Lord and she needed a
hug. The Lord,
through His servants in the priesthood, provided both. He put His arms around
her in a way that only
God could and gave her counsel from a loving Father through the mouth of His
two humble cops on their way to a call.
I want to close by telling you of a ten year old boy who died four days before
Christmas and six days
before his birthday. He died at the hands of a hit-and-run driver. He was
knocked into the street and
an estimated 100 cars drove around him, none stopping. I am well acquainted with
death, but the
circumstances of his death, the feelings that his mother and father must have
gone through, the
unwillingness of the other drivers to stop and lend a helping hand, greatly
affected me. I found myself
thinking about him when I didn’t have to be thinking about something else. It
must have affected
many others too as that incident was the topic of talk shows for several days.
One of Christ’s
teachings was service to others. Yes we all have our own burdens to deal with,
but we cannot be so
caught up in those burdens that we forget or ignore the burdens of others.
The boy’s name was Lee. My heart went out to him and to his family. So much so,
that I ended up
writing a poem about him. I never knew who the family was and I wasn’t going to
use police records
to find out so the poem stayed with me, never reaching the family. Five years
later, I was talking with
Sam about it and I found out that he knew that family and in fact, he was their
He called the family and asked if we could come over. A few days passed and
finally I met the family
I had thought about several times. It was a neat experience and I hope that
somehow, the knowledge
that a total stranger took the time to think and pray and write a poem about
their son, made them
realize that probably hundreds of people thought and prayed for their son and
I know the Lord God loves each and every one of His children. He worries about
us and feels our
pains. He wants to bless all His children. But He can only bless us in
proportion to our willingness
to obey His will. He may also use us to bless the lives of others, if we are
willing to seek His will and
not our own. He will guide us, He will whisper to our souls what it is that He
would have us do. If
we choose not to listen, then we only have our own uninspired wisdom to guide us
and neither our
life or the lives of others can be blessed. God is our Father and He loves us as
a Father would.
He will protect us from our fears, real or imagined,
if we will but follow His counsel.
Of this I humbly testify. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
Detective (&RM) Charles D. Gray Badge #9257
The Broken Boy
Four days or so; fore Christmas Day, nearby the busy motorway,
boy of ten on weathered bike, rode homeward bound-his post school hike.
streets were filled with traffic deep, a mindless mass of migrant sheep.
here... and rushing there, without a moment’s time to spare.
Christmas time they had to shop, there was no time at all to stop.
time to halt or slow their pace, competing in the human race.
uninvolved in all the fray, with thoughts of Santa on his way,
boy of ten with out a care, on tandem wheels rode unaware.
homeward boy had gathered speed, a bit too fast some have agreed;
tried to make the turn but failed, against the car, he did not prevail.
body thrown upon the ground, the mangled bike wheels still spun round,
broken boy still in the street, now lying in a lifeless heap.
his body they did spy, the cars kept rushing quickly by.
Veering round his body torn, as if his welcome he’d outworn.
cars along the road paraded, the broken boy still lay unaided.
one lent a helping hand, no one lived the great command.
kind word was said or spoken, to the boy whose body broken,
now become a mere obstruction, to those professing Christ’s
not to far, a few blocks over, where once played the boy in clover,
his mother greatly worried, “Where is that boy? I wish he’d
silent house remained that way, no phone rang, none called that day.
haunting quiet seemed to say, “The boy will ever be delayed.”
when I’d heard this horrid tale, my faith in man began to fail.
few there are that lend a hand, too oft we take a selfish stand.
turn our head and won’t get involved, of things unseen, we feel
still his body torn and broken, lay unaided as a token.
where lies our true devotion; with our money, fame, promotion?
man’s self centered search e’re find, he has in truth left God
seeking after God’s of pleasure, we pass right by His truest treasure.
lay beneath our hurried feet, the broken boy;
death complete, now lies discarded in the street.
I began to comprehend, the meaning of the words well penned,
Christmas Day, he heard the bells, Ol’ Henry Wadsworth’s song still
in despair I bowed my head, there is no peach on earth I said...
hate is strong and mocks the song;
peach on earth good will toward men.
Charles Dale Gray, #9257 December 21, 1995.
Dedicated to Lee Conway Brown
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