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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 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 dangers that accompanied the job were real now as opposed to the imagined dangers of my childhood. Misplaced 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 conduit
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 with several 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.

(Sam: 3358)
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.

(Chuck: 3153)
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 here.” 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 mouth. What 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 her. Her 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 slowly replied, “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!”
Sam, #3751

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 Priesthood. Through 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 home-teacher.

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 his family.  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,  
       a boy of ten on weathered bike, rode homeward bound-his post school hike.  
The streets were filled with traffic deep, a mindless mass of migrant sheep.  
       Rushing here... and rushing there, without a moment’s time to spare.  
T’was Christmas time they had to shop, there was no time at all to stop.  
       No time to halt or slow their pace, competing in the human race.  
But uninvolved in all the fray, with thoughts of Santa on his way,  
       a boy of ten with out a care, on tandem wheels rode unaware.  
The homeward boy had gathered speed, a bit too fast some have agreed;  
       he tried to make the turn but failed, against the car, he did not prevail.  
His body thrown upon the ground, the mangled bike wheels still spun round,  
       the broken boy still in the street, now lying in a lifeless heap.

Although his body they did spy, the cars kept rushing quickly by.  
       Veering round his body torn, as if his welcome he’d outworn.  
The cars along the road paraded, the broken boy still lay unaided.  
       No one lent a helping hand, no one lived the great command.  
No kind word was said or spoken, to the boy whose body broken,  
       had now become a mere obstruction, to those professing Christ’s instruction.  
And not to far, a few blocks over, where once played the boy in clover,  
       paced his mother greatly worried, “Where is that boy? I wish he’d hurry.”  
The silent house remained that way, no phone rang, none called that day.  
       The haunting quiet seemed to say, “The boy will ever be delayed.”  

And when I’d heard this horrid tale, my faith in man began to fail.  
       Too few there are that lend a hand, too oft we take a selfish stand.  
We turn our head and won’t get involved, of things unseen, we feel absolved.  
       And still his body torn and broken, lay unaided as a token.  
Of where lies our true devotion; with our money, fame, promotion?  
       Will man’s self centered search e’re find, he has in truth left God behind?  
While seeking after God’s of pleasure, we pass right by His truest treasure.  
       He lay beneath our hurried feet, the broken boy;  
his death complete, now lies discarded in the street.  
       Then I began to comprehend, the meaning of the words well penned,  
that Christmas Day, he heard the bells, Ol’ Henry Wadsworth’s song still tells:  
       And in despair I bowed my head, there is no peach on earth I said...  
For hate is strong and mocks the song;  
       of peach on earth good will toward men.

    Officer Charles Dale Gray, #9257 December 21, 1995.
                                                         Dedicated to Lee Conway Brown  


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"Think About it..." mailed to your home for only $14.95   S&H included

Read "Think About it..." Online Warrior Stories  | Excerpts | News Articles | Poems
Rear Cover | Reviews | About the Book | About the Author | Order | E-Mail  |  Home

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P.O. Box 7899   Mesa, AZ 85216-7899
A 317 page full size book, mailed to your home for only $14.95   S&H included