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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 Dan Merrell

Taken from the book Think About it...  for your reading convenience

As I think back, there have been many experiences that have strengthened my testimony during my fifteen years of service. This one, I believe was during the summer of 1993. I was working the graveyard shift out of Station Three. It was close to midnight and I had wandered out of my beat. In fact, I was several miles out of my beat. Suddenly from the west, came a motorcycle that blew a red light heading eastbound. I went after him and as I started to gain on him, the motorcycle sped up and made it obvious that he was going to make a run for it.

Under normal procedures, I would have immediately notified the dispatcher that I was in pursuit, because I already had my lights and siren on and in fact, was in pursuit. But for some reason, I didn’t call it in. I instead just caught up to him and stayed on him. If I had called it in, other officers would have responded to help me. Once a pursuit is called in, after the stop is made, the enforcement action is cast in stone. He would have been arrested, handcuffed and jailed.

About a mile later, he finally came to a stop. I called in the stop as if it were a routine traffic stop. I then got out of my car and immediately handcuffed the driver. He was a scared, very humbled and apologetic young man. I started talking to him and found out that this young man was LDS and had just received his mission call. He went on to tell me that he had snuck out of his house and was on his way to his girlfriend’s house. I talked to him about how hard the adversary works against missionaries. Still amazed at myself for not calling in this pursuit or even asking for a back up, I told him there was no police related reason for me to be where I was when I saw him. I told him I was sure there was a reason that the Lord wanted me to be there though.

There at that particular place and time, to stop him for some particular reason.

I called this young man’s parents and had them come to our location. I explained everything to his parents. Then I turned him over to them. After talking to the father, I felt comfortable that he would complete the counseling session I had started with his son. I still smile a warm smile when I think about that incident. I was so far out of my beat, he blew the light and tried to out run me, and for some unexplainable reason, I didn’t feel in danger and never even called it in. Had I called in the pursuit, that young man would have been booked on a felony. That would have been the end of his mission. It would have ended before it even began. I sometimes wonder if there is somebody out there that only he would be able to reach.

Several months later, I was on patrol when a call with three hot tones came out. A Maricopa County deputy was in pursuit of a vehicle being driven by a man who had just committed armed robbery. The pursuit was heading in my direction. The suspect rammed a police car and continued westbound on Main. I met up with the pursuit and was directly behind and to the left of the suspect vehicle and the deputy was to my right. Just before Higley Road, the driver reached out of his window and started shooting at me.

He shot at me about ten times and never hit me or my car.

The suspect vehicle crashed into a curb and lost both wheels on the right side, but the driver continued his flight. He drove through a residential neighborhood and then continued westbound on Broadway for about six miles. At about 1100 west, the suspect vehicle tried making a southbound turn and again lost control and struck a curb. This time damaging the vehicle where it could not continue. The driver got out and ran behind a business into a fenced commercial yard. There were many stacks of wooden pallets in the yard as well as many other items stacked around. There were several officers on scene and we immediately surrounded and sealed off the area. In doing a quick search of the yard, we were unable to locate the suspect, so we backed out and brought in a police dog to search. If the suspect was close by, the police dog would find him. I went in with the handler as the other half of the two man search team. Everyone else stayed on the perimeter making sure the suspect didn’t get out.

We searched the entire yard, including the pallets several times, but didn’t locate the suspect. We went back and forth, checking everything again and again. It was impossible that this guy had gotten away. But the dog never alerted and we never found him so somehow, he must have gotten through the perimeter. After a long period of time, the search was finally called off. The next day, the Sheriff’s Office received a tip and ended up arresting the suspect at a motel on Main Street. During the interview of the suspect, he said he had been hiding in the pallets and had watched us and the dog search the pallets and walk right past him. He said if we would have seen him, he would have shot us. Flashlights are directional lighting. Peripheral vision at night with a flashlight is slim to none and the suspect always knows where you are at. Had the dog alerted on his scent, or had we caught a glimpse of him in the pallets, we wouldn’t have stood a chance. Before we would have known what his intent was,

               he would have been able to shoot us, even before
                                           we would have had the opportunity to see him

When I was told that by the deputies, I thanked my Heavenly Father for protecting me. My mind went back to the night of the incident and I remembered before going to work, kneeling in prayer with my family. My two year old son was learning to pray. And he said the prayer that night. He had heard other members of my family say:

                  “Bless daddy to be safe at work.”
                                         He was trying to repeat that, but his version was:
                                                                   “Bless daddy to go to wook.”

I, to this day, can’t think about that without becoming emotional and grateful to the Lord for hearing the prayers of my two year old son, kneeling together before leaving for work on a graveyard shift.  Most of the time, we don’t know how we were protected or how our prayers are answered. “4848” will tell you a story about a young desperate man that had robbed a bank and then was cornered inside an Auto Zone store. Chuck and I were standing next to each other, our outstretched arms, guns in hand, pointing at the young man who had a gun to his head. We both were impressed right away that this young man was LDS. During the negotiations with him and after we had developed a trust with him, I was talking to him about things he learned in Primary and Sunday School. He was softening up but unfortunately, before we could get him to drop the gun, our attempts were brought to an end. The SWAT team moved into the building and we were ordered outside. As we were leaving the building, we heard the blast and we knew what it meant. The young man ended up shooting himself, because in his mind all options were gone. If I may repeat what was said by Elder Boyd K. Packer in a recent Conference talk, “There is nothing that anyone has done that cannot be repented of.” May I say, “Have the courage to repent!” The adversary would make you think that all is lost, and it wouldn’t do you any good to repent.

If that is how you feel, you have been deceived.

Turn to the Lord. He is there. He is waiting. You must open the door and let him in. Rely on Him. He can and will take the pain away. If you turn to Him, and totally rely on Him, you will feel His unconditional love for you. A love that is unmistakable. To you parents, I would say to maintain open communication with your children. Stay involved and stay friends with them. They have more temptations thrown at them than you can even imagine. Love your children. Make them feel of worth. These children were saved for these last days because they are the best of the best! Help them gain their own testimonies. They need that shield with them everyday. I thank my Heavenly Father for teaching me the lessons I have learned while being a police officer. The greatest lesson I have learned is the importance of a family.

The majority of the evils in the world are from the harvest of broken homes.
Homes with no love or directions.

I am indebted to my beautiful wife. She is more spiritual than I. She is closer to the Lord than I. She is more sensitive than I and I would not be where I am without her. I have four boys and a beautiful daughter that mean everything to me. I am thankful to my Heavenly Father for allowing me to be a part of their lives. They teach me so much.

              I know that the Lord lives and I know that this is His true church.
                                       These things I leave with you in the name of Jesus Christ,

                                              Officer (&RM) Daniel B. Merrell Badge #4525


If you are or were a police officer, soldier, fireman
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,


"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
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