"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
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
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
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Thank you and God bless,