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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 Shawn Petersen

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

           I am a wife and a mother and I have been a  police officer for several years.
                          I have seen many lives that have been destroyed or damaged
                                       by what I believe to be a complete loss of anything
                                                                positive or good to believe in.

I know that many times as a police officer I have had opportunities to share the things I believe in, not so much by what I had to say, but more in my actions and the way I chose to treat those I came into contact with. Through the years I have been told many times by other officers that I have been too nice or too polite or have shown kindness when the person deserved none. These things may be true in the eyes of those watching me, but to me I did what I thought the Lord and my Heavenly Father would have me do. It is not my place to condemn or judge but simply my place to be sure that  no earthly law is broken and that no harm is caused to anyone. I never could see much of a need to treat someone with malice after the fact. It served no purpose and would cause me to not like myself as much.

I am married and have two very beautiful children. There was a time in my life when I wondered if I would ever have the opportunity to be a wife and a mother. When I was a little girl my family was very very fragile. My father and mother did not have a good marriage and my father had a strong tendency to have extra marital affairs. The one thing I consider a great blessing is that my father and mother did stumble onto the Mormon religion and myself and my family became members. Many changes came about in my family as a result of joining the Church. Many changes in my father also, but they were not permanent.

At eight years old I was baptized by my father. At nine my father molested me. My mother had no knowledge of his actions. As it would turn out, they divorced for the second time in their marriage when I was ten. I spent many years not liking the Mormon religion and felt much pain. I remembered how my mother had been treated by some of the people in our ward and how they had turned their backs on her when she needed them. I was also attempting to deal with what had been done to me without telling my mother. I had many bad feelings. I was unable to see at the time that it was the people I felt angry at, not the Church. All of these issues together caused me a lot of confusion. As a teenage girl, I attended my ward a few times, but just never quite felt like I fit in. Eventually, I just stopped attending all together. Thankfully, I still spoke to my Heavenly Father on a daily basis. I knew that He was with me and I kept Him in my heart always.

When I was seventeen years old I finally told my mother what my father had done to me. By then I had managed to add mistake on top of mistake in my attempt to work out my thoughts and feelings. As an adult I was still wandering. I visited many different churches in an attempt to find what was still missing. It was during that time I met my future husband. He was a Mormon but not following his beliefs very closely at the time. Our meeting was a little different. He owned an ice cream parlor and I would quite often go in to buy my mother a glass of tea. She worked in the same shopping plaza.

One day when I stopped in to get mom a tea, a friend of mine who also knew my husband, was sitting at a table. He told my future husband that I was a police officer. My soon to be, who was waiting on me, said, “You can arrest me anytime!” Well at that point in my life, I was very cautious of anyone who said anything like that to me and I simply replied, “That’s what they all say,” and turned and walked out. However, after two or three months of chit-chat, I finally went out on a date with the ice cream man. As we were driving to our destination, I looked at him and said, “You’re a Mormon aren’t you.”

                                He squirmed in his seat and said,
                                                            “Yes I am! Why do you ask?”

I don’t know why I asked, there was just something different about him and I liked it. As time went on, we got married and fourteen months after our second child was born, I was diagnosed with cervical-uterine cancer. I was twenty-nine years old. My children were babies. I felt very frightened. Within four days of my diagnosis, I was sent to the hospital where a doctor performed a hysterectomy on me. My doctor was from the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, Arizona. He came highly recommended for this procedure. That was October 21, 1990. On that day I kissed my husband and my babies goodbye and left for the hospital. I was scared but felt that things would be all right. I had received a blessing from my husband, a good friend of ours and my father in law. I placed much faith in the priesthood and knew that I would do whatever my Heavenly Father asked me to do.

The surgery went well but as I was waking up, I heard the doctor stop to speak to my husband and his brother. I heard him say to my husband that I would need to have chemotherapy. I knew what that meant. It meant that my cancer was worse than the doctor had originally thought. My husband was very quiet. In my room my family gathered in around me and began talking about my problem. Emotions were high, my mother was crying, my father in law was weeping and my sister in law wanted a hamburger. I was alert and I wanted to participate in the conversation but I just couldn’t get my mouth to function.

What I am about to tell you is very personal and sacred to me.
It is a personal experience that I have only told a few people. You can explain
it away in any way you wish. You can say I was delirious or heavily sedated or
whatever you like. But I was there and I know what happened.

When my family was weeping for me in that hospital room, I wanted to speak to them to tell them I was okay. It was at this point I suddenly left my room and the next thing I knew I was standing outside in a white gown of some kind with a tree behind me. I looked and I saw the Lord sitting on a rock also wearing a white gown. I recognized Him immediately when I saw Him. I looked at the Lord and said, “Lord, please let me get up and tell them that I am going to be alright!” The Lord looked at me and lifted His hand and arm to me and said, “This is where you will learn about long suffering.” I again pleaded with the Lord and again He told me the same thing. I then returned to my room and once again I was in my bed. I could hear my mother crying. I was still unable to speak. A few moments later I heard nothing, until about 3:30 a.m. I awoke and opened my eyes. My mind was very clear. I remembered everything that had happened. I remembered the conversation with my Lord and Savior. Though I could not see Them, I felt like Heavenly Father and the Lord Jesus Christ were with me. I started to cry in the quiet of my room. I asked my Heavenly Father to please let me stay here on earth until my boys were eighteen and grown if it was His will. I didn’t want to be pushy or bossy, but I desperately wanted the chance to raise my boys.

                                           the feeling came to me that
                                 I would be spared from leaving this earth too soon.

For several months I went through therapy, losing my food many times and almost all of my beautiful long hair. Beautiful long hair that I had received many compliments on throughout my life. But life goes on and so do all the bills. So back to work I went. I returned to my uniform and dealt with the looks, the stares and comments. None of that mattered to me however, as long as I could just get through it and be all right.

That was six years ago. Not a day goes by that it doesn’t cross my mind. It was a major turning point for me in my life as far as priorities, obligations, my family and my religion were concerned. I realized first hand, just how fragile life is. How fragile your health is. How soon and unexpectedly your whole life, plans, hopes and dreams can be changed. I realized how quickly your health can be taken away. I realized how dependent we are on our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I am so thankful for my health and my chance to continue to be of good on this earth. My husband and I have our short comings but through it all we try to remember, that we are the children of our Heavenly Father and that He loves us.

I am so thankful for the gospel in my life. I am thankful for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and for my chance to serve all mankind while on this earth. My family is of the utmost importance to me. It took years and many churches with many beliefs for me to realize that I could be angry with anyone in any religion. When I realized what I was angry at, I was able to see that I loved the Church and all that it has to offer. I love my children. I am the chorister in my ward for the primary. I love genealogy work and the temple. I am so grateful for the belief and understanding that a family can be a family forever.

I love my Heavenly Father and I am so thankful for the gift of the atonement.
So thankful that I have a brother so special that He would lay down His life
for me to allow me to return home to Heaven one day as a true daughter of God.

I could have written hundreds of pages about the tragedies, the hardships, the mistakes and the
lessons I learned the hard way. But it is enough for me to say that I have been through hell here on earth. I have stood at the gates of Heaven without entering because it was not yet my time. I needed to know that I was not alone. That I am a good person. I needed to know that I am a loved daughter of God. Just knowing that He loves me has helped me through the bad times. Even though I do not spend much time visiting with my earthly father, I still love him and I forgave him many years ago.

I cannot do much about things that were not done right for me.
I will not dwell on things that were done wrong.
I choose instead to dwell on today and to do the best that I can,
and to be the best that I can be, whether in my private life or as a police officer.

I know that Heavenly Father and His Son Jesus Christ live. I know that this is the Lord’s true church and I know that we are given prophets to lead and guide us today. I know that these prophets and leaders are called of God and are guided to help us to help ourselves. I know that life is a time to grow and to learn. I am thankful for the Book of Mormon and for the knowledge that our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ have given us. I am thankful that They speak to us and guide us, even today. I am thankful for the Holy Ghost and His direction to me through the still and small voice in my heart. I know that I have been kept from harm’s door many times while listening to that still small voice. They are the promptings of my Lord and Savior to one of Heavenly Father’s daughters here on earth. I am thankful for my husband and the Priesthood he holds to help and guide our family. I am thankful for life and for my earthly mother who through all my trials has loved me as my Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ have,

                                                                and unconditionally!

                                                              Officer Shawn O. Peterson Badge #4908


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,
please contact us for details at

or use the link on the front page of this site at

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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